Blackhawks

Blackhawks: Breaking down Patrick Kane's postseason success

patrickkanenoslide.png

Blackhawks: Breaking down Patrick Kane's postseason success

Patrick Kane was playing his way into the MVP conversation before his regular season was cut short due to a broken collarbone, but he's somehow taken his game to an even higher level in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

After finishing the 2014-15 campaign with 64 points in 61 games, the Blackhawks forward has erupted for a team-leading 13 points (seven goals, six assists) in 10 postseason games, which currently ranks second — Anaheim's Corey Perry has 14 points in seven games — among playoff leaders.

[MORE: Closing it out: Five things from Blackhawks-Wild]

Kane has been held off the stat sheet just once since returning to the lineup, carrying a five-game goal streak and seven-game point streak into the Western Conference Final.

But his recent playoff success extends beyond this year.

In his last 14 playoff games dating back to 2013-14, Kane has compiled nine goals and 14 assists for 23 points, an average of 1.64 points per game. 

To put that into perspective: Pittsburgh's Sidney Crosby led the NHL in points per game this year with 1.09.

In those 14 games, Kane has registered at least a point in all but one, and finished with multi-point games in half of them. The Blackhawks are 10-4 in that span, with Kane having scored the game-winner in three of those victories, two of which came in Games 2 and 3 against the Minnesota Wild.

[NBC SHOP: Get a Patrick Kane jersey here]

The numbers speak for themselves, but what's more impressive than anything: Kane hasn't skipped a beat, performing at an astonishing pace after coming back five weeks early from a collarbone injury that initially projected him to be sidelined until late May.

Not only do the Blackhawks have a healthy Kane heading into the Conference Final, but they also have one who, as coach Joel Quenneville put it, has "a hot stick."

Blackhawks Talk Podcast: What else can the Blackhawks do this summer?

screen_shot_2018-03-09_at_3.44.30_pm.png
USA TODAY

Blackhawks Talk Podcast: What else can the Blackhawks do this summer?

On the latest edition of the Hawks Talk Podcast, Charlie Roumeliotis is joined by Scott Powers of The Athletic to discuss Stan Bowman's comments following the Marian Hossa trade and debate whether they're finished making moves this summer.

They also provide their thoughts on the Blackhawks' top prospects and which players have caught their attention as development camp winds down.

Listen to the full episode at this link or in the embedded player below:

Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews: 'Our No. 1 goal is getting back to the playoffs'

Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews: 'Our No. 1 goal is getting back to the playoffs'

Jonathan Toews watched a lot of playoff hockey this spring. 

"Quite a bit," he admitted Wednesday before making his Chicago Pro Hockey League debut at MB Ice Arena. "More than usual."

That's because the Blackhawks missed out on the postseason for the first time since his rookie year in 2007-08. It's obviously not a position he'd like himself or his team to be in, especially after experiencing three Stanley Cups in a six-year span.

But you have to find a way to take the positives out of it at this point and let it fuel you for the upcoming campaign.

"You always want to be there playing," Toews said. "But when you can maybe step away from the game a little bit and just kind of breathe and — at the same time, look back and realize you’ve been lucky enough to have a lot of success. Obviously there’s no satisfaction there, but you understand it’s not the worst thing to stop and smell the roses and appreciate what you’ve been able to experience, because I think failing to get to the playoffs makes you realize how difficult it really is and maybe it’s something you took for granted.

"But watching more hockey this spring, I think, is something that was really motivating and kind of inspiring and exciting to want to get back to that level again. You dream of playing in the NHL, but at the end of the day, you want to play playoff hockey. That’s what it’s all about."

There were plenty of things that went wrong for the Blackhawks last season and contributed to why they watched the playoffs from home, whether it's the Corey Crawford injury, the down season from Brandon Saad, or the inexperience on the blue line.

For Toews, who turned 30 in April, it's about regaining that old form that made him one of the top players in the NHL and hoping it can filter down the rest of the Blackhawks lineup.

"For me, it’s part of just recapturing that energy, that motivation, excitement and that mindset of a young player who takes nothing for granted, that you had in your younger days," he said. "But also carrying the experience with you and understanding the impact of what you say, what you do, how you carry yourself can impact your teammates, especially the young guys. For me, it comes down to knowing what to say at the right time. But letting my play be the thing that helps me lead by example. No better time than now to use that experience and that excitement trying to rebound off the season we had last year."

If there's any reason to have belief that the Blackhawks can turn it around quickly, look no further than the two teams that collided in the Stanley Cup Final: Vegas and Washington. 

The Golden Knights had the longest odds to win it all at the beginning of the season while the Capitals' championship window was perceived to be closed after they failed to beat the Pittsburgh Penguins in 2017 in the second round yet again with a loaded roster. But it's not about what's on paper.

"Watching that last series, you just knew it came down to who had the most, the deepest belief in themselves," Toews said. "I even had a hard time predicting who was going to win every series. It could’ve gone either way in a lot of situations. It’s not only motivating, seeing how fast that play was and to have missed out on playoff hockey this year and to have the drive to get back there, but knowing if you do sneak into the playoffs it doesn’t matter. You can go a long way.

"For us, thinking, 'OK, we're gonna back and win a Stanley Cup this year,' it sounds like a long shot. But as always, our No. 1 goal is getting back to the playoffs and being ready to hit our stride when we get there."