Kane was goalless in the first three games against the Los Angeles Kings in the Western Conference finals and hadn't scored since Game 3 of the Hawks' seven-game series against the Detroit Red Wings in the conference semifinals. His eight-game scoring drought was the longest of his season.
So when Kane saw the puck squirt past Kings goaltender Jonathan Quick during the second period of Game 4 on Thursday, Kane didn't wait to see whether the puck would travel alone into the net. He surged to the puck and gave it a helping hand with the touch of his stick.
Kane realized later that he had stolen teammate Bryan Bickell's goal and even apologized to his teammate, but neither cared too much. Both were just happy to have Kane back on the board and have a 3-2 win and a 3-1 series lead on the Kings.
"Yeah, I told [Bickell] was kind of sorry I stole it from him," Kane said with a smile. "It might have went in. Kind of instinctive when you see the puck there, to stick your stick in and touch it."
Bickell would have accepted the goal, which would have been his ninth of the playoffs, but he knew Kane needed it, too.
"Just to make sure it goes in," Bickell said, also with a smile. "If it goes in, I'll take it. He'll take it, too, to get him a little spark and confidence again."
The goal was the icing on the cake for Kane to go along with an all-around performance in Game 4 that pleased him. He talked prior to the game of needing to step up his play.
Kane believes he achieved that Thursday, finishing with a team-high seven shots on goal.
"The biggest thing was just trying to get the puck any way I could, skate with it, feel into the game, no matter how that was," Kane said. "I thought I did a good job of that. Got a lot of support from, whether it's coaches or teammates that want you to have the puck, that want you to start skating with it and moving it."
Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville was happy to see Kane break through.
"He had the puck early and a lot," Quenneville said. "He's dangerous off the rush, took some shots through the screens. Nice to see him score, as well."