Consistency has been his game all season. He registered 64 points in 61 regular-season games and now has 20 points in 19 playoff games. He only once had a pointless streak beyond two games in the regular season and he quickly cut that short at three games. He’s currently on his longest pointless streak of this year’s playoffs at two games. He's avoided slumps all season.
Kane acknowledged it was strange for him to not to record a shot on net against the Tampa Bay Lightning in Game 2 of the Stanley Cup finals on Saturday -- something that has happened just twice in 112 career playoff games and hasn’t occurred since May 17, 2009 against the Detroit Red Wings -- but it wasn’t anything he was concerned about.
“It's one of those stats that it happens every now and then,” Kane said at the United Center on Sunday. “At the same time, I can't just go out on the ice and worry about shooting the puck. I got to worry about making the right play. If that play is making a pass, and you know, I'll make that play.
“It's not a stat you like to see, for sure. At the same time going into the next game, I'm not going to go in saying, I need to get a shot here or there. I just go out and try to make the right play and worry about the results from there.”
Two of the Blackhawks’ best chances to score in Games 1 and 2 against the Lightning came off Kane’s stick. He nearly set up Jonathan Toews for a goal at the net in Game 1, but Lightning goaltender Ben Bishop snatched the puck before it arrived to Toews. In Game 3, Brandon Saad, Kane and Toews worked the puck quickly to set up a chance, but Bishop again made a big save.
It’s those sort of chances Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville tends to think about when assessing Kane.
“He didn't show up on the score sheet, [but] whether it's his shots or a threat to score, I thought that line did some good things,” Quenneville said on Sunday. “He was down with the 2-on-1 with Saader that looked like almost a breakaway, some other things that were materializing that were dangerous.
“Obviously certain games, your top guys aren't going to appear on the score sheet or (will) look like they're shut down. I still think they consume a lot of the other team's priorities as far as being aware defensively. So in two games, he's been fine. I haven't minded his game. I think he's been a threat. But obviously we would like to see some production across the board. I don't care what line steps up. I think certainly our team could be more effective in the offensive zone.”
Kane’s possessions numbers did improve from Game 1 to 2. He went from having a team-worst minus-7 Corsi (the Lightning had 22 shots to the Blackhawks’ 15 with Kane on the ice in 5-on-5 situations) in Game 1 to leading the team with a plus-8 Corsi (17-10 shot advantage) in Game 2.
Kane entered the series one of the hottest players in the playoffs, having compiled 10 goals and 10 assists through the Western Conference finals. They're numbers Kane hopes to add to on Monday.
“As an offensive guy, you want to be helping produce, especially at this time of year,” Kane said. “But, you know, we said all along with our team, we don't really care where the goals come from, as long as they're coming from our team. You know, I think I can help in that area obviously. I think that's one of the reasons I'm on the team. That's one of my jobs here, is to try to produce offense. Hopefully start that up next game."