Over the past five seasons, no one had been more clutch in the Stanley Cup playoffs and perhaps in Sports overall than Patrick Kane. His feel for the big moments has been a major force in the Blackhawks success.
Kane has scored four overtime goals in the Stanley Cup playoffs in his career and seven game winning goals. Add in 30 game winning goals in the regular season and Kane's level of play always rises when the game is on the line.
Kane has scored 21 of his 37 career playoff goals in the third period or overtime. In the four runs that the Blackhawks have had to the conference finals, Kane has 36 goals and 43 assists for 79 points in 79 games. When asked about his propensity to score the biggest goals, Kane said "You try to take it upon yourself to try and step up in big situations,"
Per CBSSports.Com's Chris Peters "Kane now has 24 goals and 52 points in Games 4-7 over his career in the postseason. All of that comes in 45 career games in those situations (Stats via Elias through NHL Communications). That's 60 percent of his 86 career playoff points coming in late-series situations." He has only 13 goals and 37 points in games 1-4 in 48 games.
He is also the first player to have three points in consecutive potential elimination games since 1992. Kane with his partner as the face of the franchise Jonathan Toews have led the Blackhawks to a 13-0 record in games 5-7 in the Stanley Cup playoffs in the last two seasons.
When the Blackhawks lost in the 2011 and 2012 first round, Kane had only three goals and five assists in 13 games. The Blackhawks lost in the first round in seven games to Vancouver in 2011 and six to Phoenix in 2012.
He also has been fortunate to have a coach that is not afraid to mix things up. The shuffling of the lines created the new showtime line. Kane, Brandon Saad and Andrew Shaw been unstoppable in their two games together. Showtime has matched or exceeded Los Angeles' that 70's line (Jeff Carter, Tyler Toffoli and Tanner Pearson). They have three goals and 11 assists in the past two games. The 70's line was plus 16 through the first five games of the series, but minus six in game six.
It has forced Kings coach Daryl Sutter to make a decision to have his star defenseman Drew Doughty play against either the Toews line or the showtime line. With Toews being flanked on the wing by Hossa and Bickell, Sutter has some tough decisions to make in game seven.
Kane's postseason success is the best we have seen in Chicago since the Bears propensity to force turnovers in 2006, the White Sox incredible pitching in 2005 and Michael and Jordaires in the 1990's.
Queenville's keen eye for putting Toews and Kane in the best positions to succeed has been a catalyst for the Blackhawks success. Last year he put Kane and Toews with Brian Bickell for Game four of the LA Series.
Those three are what propelled the Blackhawks to hoist Lord Stanley's Cup. They posted five goals and six assists in the final two games of the LA series and then hit Boston for six goals and eight assists in the six game finals.
If the Kings can't slowdown Kane and the showtime line in game seven, than the Blackhawks are likely headed to their third Stanley Cup Final in the last five years.
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