Patrick Kane seeking more consistency

CHICAGO -- The goal of keeping pace with the Pittsburgh Penguins' Sidney Crosby in points has disappeared for the Chicago Blackhawks' Patrick Kane.

The two players were neck and neck in December, but that has changed in recent weeks. Crosby has continued to accumulate points, and Kane’s numbers have dropped off. Crosby now has 68 points to Kane’s 56.

For Kane, the goal now is to rediscover his production and strive for the level of consistency Crosby has in his game.

“The thing is consistency,” Kane said after practice Saturday. “That’s the biggest thing about it. To do that for 82 games is where he’s at and I’m not, I guess. Consistency is the biggest thing just to keep that chugging along the whole year. I was real hot and right there with him and then he kind of continues and keeps trotting on. He’s a great player.”

Kane was as consistent as they come from Nov. 3 to Dec. 28. He picked up points in 26 of 27 games during that span. Even Crosby wasn’t doing that.

But since Dec. 30, Kane’s production has dropped off. He’s had points in two of the last nine games and hasn’t scored a goal since Dec. 28.

“I want to get better,” Kane said. “I want to improve and get back to the level I was at a little bit before. I guess that starts with hard work. That’s the biggest thing, just try to work hard. Hopefully, things kind of create itself. Hanging in there, hopefully get some chances and bury them.”

Kane has pinpointed he has to be better off the rush and shooting low more often. He and his father discussed his struggles on Saturday morning.

“It’s funny; my dad said that to me on the way to the rink today that there was an article or something that was saying I was shooting low and things were doing good for me,” Kane said. “Yeah, sometimes I’ve had other people tell me that as well. You don’t want to be too fine point of where you’re putting the puck or trying to put it upstairs or snip it. Maybe it’s better to just go low. If it goes in, it goes in. If not, maybe you get a rebound and get some action off it. Maybe I’ll get back to that.”

Kane has been creating chances. He’s averaged just less than five shots over the last nine games. His shooting numbers have remained consistent.

Kane also has liked the way his newly-formed second line has come together. He, Brandon Saad and Andrew Shaw have clicked quickly. Kane just wished they would involve him when they do happen to score.

“It seems like every time I jump off the ice, they score,” Kane said. “Maybe I got to do that more often. I was like, ‘Guys, you can score with me on the ice, too.’ I think they’re two pretty easy players to play with – Shawzy and Saader. They both work hard, play a simple style of game. When you play with players like that, it tends to be easy to kind of get used to them. It’s been a good. I still feel like it can be better, too. Hopefully, it gets better.”

Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville wasn’t worried about Kane. He was happy with Kane’s and the second line’s play.

“First 40-something games was pretty amazing,” Quenneville said of Kane. “Hard to do what he was doing game in game out being productive, and playing that well, and seemed like having the puck on his stick the majority of his shifts. But at the same time, there's an awareness, your opponent, to keep an eye on him. As you go along here, we'll see how it all plays out. But he's still having a real good year for us, but I think he's been fine the last few games, as well.

“It's been good, I like that line. They have a lot of zone time and I think everybody would like to score. He had some points recently, had a couple games there where he didn't get the production, but he's still getting the looks and the opportunities as a line. In the three games they've been together, I think that line — our team game's been very effective, back in order. And I think that line's kind of led the charge.”