Slump talk a distant memory after Patrick Kane’s hat trick
BY MARK POTASH firstname.lastname@example.org June 9, 2013 12:44AM
Updated: July 10, 2013 6:55AM
No matter what he does over the course of a playoff series, Patrick Kane remains one of the best closers in the NHL.
Mired in a scoring slump three days ago that had friends and former teammates and coaches calling him with advice, Kane completed a quick self-recovery with a hat trick — capped by the game-wnner in overtime — as the Blackhawks beat the Los Angeles Kings 4-3 to clinch the Western Conference final 4-1 on Saturday night at the United Center.
‘‘It’s nice to win first and foremost,’’ Kane said. ‘‘But to contirbue the last couple of games — I think any player would be lying to youif they said it isn’t nice.
‘‘Big couple of wins the last couple of wins, especially tonight after they tied it up with nine seconds left. To pull it out in overtime is huge. We definitely didn’t want to go back to L.A.’’
Kane had scored just two goals in 15 playoff games — both of them in losses — before breaking out of his slump with a goal in the Hawks’ 2-1 victory in Game 4 at Staples Center.
That goal, a tap-in of a deflection by Bryan Bickell, probably would have gone in without Kane’s help. But there was no doubt about any of his three goals against the Kings. He scored on a wrist shot from close range to give the Hawks a 2-0 lead in the first period, then scored off a perfect pass from Bickell to give the Hawks a 3-2 lead with 3:52 left in regulation.
The game winner came off another nice feed, this one from Jonathan Toews on a 2-on-1 11:40 into the second overtime.
‘‘Unbelievable. He was unreal,’’ teammate Marian Hossa said. ‘‘His whole line was unreal. They scored three huge goals. It was Patrick’s night to shine.’’
The game-winning goal was the latest in a series of big goals scored by Kane — topped by the Cup-winning goal in Game 6 against the Philadelphia Flyers in 2010.
‘‘Right now [this one] feels like the best,’’ Kane said. I think June 9 three years ago [the Cup winner] was also a good night. But right now, it’s almost like I’m in a different zone, like the twilight zone or something. I’m kind of out of it. It’s definitely a good feeling.’’
Kane said he thought he had been slashed ‘‘a few times’’ earlier on the game-winning shift. ‘‘Bicksy [Bryan Bickell] made a nice chip and Jonny won a battle along the boards to take off on a two-on-one. The shift before Jonny had the same play and the puck fumbled on him. I knew he was coming back to me. Just tried to wait for the defenseman to go by me. He made a great pass. Just tried to get it off as quick as I could.’’