Patrick Kane was like any player coming off an injury that sidelined him for several weeks.
Returning to the game, one that only gets more physical when the playoffs begin, the obvious question was there: how will that surgically-repaired left clavicle react to that first big hit? Kane got that “test” in Game 5 after Nashville forward Mike Ribeiro landed a big hit on him.
“Once you get bumped a couple of times and get hit pretty good, you see the bone’s still strong and good enough to take those hits,” said Kane prior to Game 6 in Chicago. “I’m at the point now where when I’m on the ice I’m worrying about my play, worrying about what I can do to better myself and help the team win.”
Considering his Game 6 performance, Kane is obviously just fine.
Kane scored the game-tying goal with six seconds remaining in the first period and assisted on Jonathan Toews’ power-play goal on Saturday night, when the Blackhawks came back to beat the Predators 4-3 and advance to the second round. Kane, who was out seven weeks with his injury, had two goals and five assists in those six games vs. the Predators.
“He was really good in our series,” coach Joel Quenneville said. “We all have expectations from Kaner and they’re all high-end. But the fact [is] that he got into it right off the bat and made an impact on our team. He had some big games in this series, gave them a lot to be concerned with when he was on the ice. Good play recognition, good patience, good first series for him.”
Kane’s impact in the series was immediate. The Blackhawks' power play didn’t score much during the series but it did generate two goals in the first game, and Kane had the primary assists on both of them.
[SHOP: Get a Patrick Kane jersey here]
Teammates weren’t surprised Kane bounced back immediately.
“That’s one of the players, a superstar. He can miss whatever he misses, can come back and he’s back to it,” Marian Hossa said. “You cannot teach that. He’s got it.”
Kane was happy with what he did coming off his injury. As usual, he was more focused on what he could improve as the playoffs continue. But his impact was immediate. He took the big hit. He absorbed it. He was perfectly fine after it. His focus is back to his game, and his game is as healthy and strong as that clavicle.
“There are different things I can do better. I probably want to control the play a little more,” Kane said. “I’ll try to improve off those levels but it’s nice to get some games under my belt, feel confident out there, not worry about where I am with my injury and just move on here and play hockey.”