Patrick Kane talked of the Blackhawks’ four-game sweep of the Minnesota Wild, the second-round series in which he scored five goals, nearly as many as the Wild itself.
“I still think there [are] some areas that I can try to improve a little bit,” Kane said. “I play with some great players who have given me some great chances to get some great looks and it is going in the back of the net.”
The great players always look for ways to improve; it’s part of their DNA. Still, to hear Kane, who’s playing as well as ever coming off that fractured left clavicle, saying he can get better still makes you shake your head.
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Until the final three minutes of Thursday’s game, Kane had as many goals (five) as the Minnesota Wild through the entire four-game series – the Wild scored two in those waning minutes.
In all, Kane has recorded at least one point in nine of the Blackhawks’ 10 postseason games. When the playoffs roll around, top players usually have less space and fewer opportunities to score. Kane’s proving that wrong.
“He has a special ability where he can find spots and create things out of nothing, really,” Johnny Oduya said. “Obviously he’s good with the timely goals, too. It’s something that you like to have on your team, especially as a D man. It can just be a break, you score a goal and you’re up. We’re fortunate to have him here. We have a couple of guys like that, who are special players.”
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When Kane returned from his clavicle surgery after seven weeks, the question was how long would it take for him to get back to normal. Kane wondered himself, especially in the more physical postseason. How would he react after that first big hit? Kane got his answer in Game 5 against Nashville, when Predators forward Mike Ribeiro landed a big hit on him. Kane came out of that hit healthy giving him the confidence to forget about his injury and concentrate on his game, with tremendous results.
“I know when he first came back he was a little slow, hesitant. But every game since he’s been comfortable,” Bryan Bickell said. “I think he’s back to where he was before that injury, when he was an elite top scorer in the league. And we need him. He’s a guy we can depend on. When big goals are needed, he finds the back of the net.”
Kane is playing as well as ever. He says there are still areas in which he can improve. He’s already off to one heck of a postseason start.
“That’s just like any other game,” Kane said. “You take what happened the game before and wipe the slate clean and do your best the next game.”