Patrick Kane’s right touch at right time is nothing new
BY MARK POTASH Staff Reporter May 31, 2014 12:12AM
at Hawks 3
at Hawks 2
at Kings 4
at Kings 5
Kings (2OT) 4
at Hawks 5
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7 p.m. Sunday
at Hawks, NBCSN
Updated: July 1, 2014 7:00AM
LOS ANGELES — Patrick Kane is as excitable as any player on the Blackhawks and maybe in the entire NHL. But as with any good sniper, there are times when the key to success is patience, patience, patience.
Kane’s ability to slow things down in the most difficult of circumstances won another huge game Friday night. He patiently and deftly assisted on Duncan Keith’s tying goal with 8:26 left and wheeled around the offensive zone and waited for just the right moment to pounce for the winning goal with 3:45 left in the Hawks’ 4-3 victory over the Los Angeles Kings that tied the Western Conference final 3-3 at Staples Center.
‘‘It wasn’t like it was the first time we’ve seen it,’’ coach Joel Quenneville said. ‘‘He sees plays, makes plays. The bigger the stage, he likes that challenge. He can get it done as good as anybody in the game.’’
Kane also scored a power-play goal — the Hawks’ first on the road in 25 tries — and had three more points to go with his four assists in Game 5 as the Hawks, once down 3-1 in the series, forced a Game 7 on Sunday at the United Center.
According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Kane is the first player since the Vancouver Canucks’ Cliff Ronning in 1992 with three or more points in back-to-back elimination games.
‘‘It’s unbelievable,’’ teammate Jonathan Toews said. ‘‘I looked at him — I think it was about a minute left, I think there was a stoppage of play and I almost started laughing. It’s amazing what he can do in these big games, when our season is on the line and nobody else seems to be able to do it the same way he does.’’
As usual, his timing was impeccable. The Hawks trailed 3-2 with 10 minutes to play in the third period when Kane fed Keith with a nifty pass for the tying goal. He then made the difference with a wrist shot from just inside the blue line, with Andrew Shaw in front of the net.
‘‘Us players in here, we get the privilege of playing with a guy like that every day and seeing the things he can do,’’ Keith said. ‘‘Not everybody’s going to dominate every single game. But you know that when it comes down to crunch time, him and Jonny [Toews] — I don’t know if there’s two other guys I’d want to have on my team.’’
Kane said he had a lot of help on his game-winner.
‘‘I think [Niklas] Hjalmarsson made a great play at the red line to have a good stick,’’ he said, ‘‘and [Brandon Saad] drove the zone with speed and dropped it to me. I didn’t see anything off the rush, so I took it up by the blue line and tried to get a shot through. Shawzie did a great job of getting a great screen. Luckily enough, it went in.’’
Kane, the guy who celebrates like nobody else, was almost business-like after his latest heroics. There’s still Game 7 on Sunday. The Kings aren’t going away, either.
‘‘I’m sure it’s fun for the fans to watch, but we know they’re a resilient group,’’ Kane said. ‘‘They’ve won two Game 7s on the road in the first two series. It’s going to be a tough one.
‘‘Right now we’re happy we got the win, but it doesn’t mean anything yet. We’ll get ready for the next one, and we know they’ll bring their best for Game 7.’’