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Patrick Kane relishes return to Philly

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TONIGHT





BLACKHAWKS
AT FLYERS

The facts: 6, CSN, 720-AM.

Updated: February 6, 2012 9:38AM



The name on the arena might have changed, but the ice in Philadelphia should still be the same. Patrick Kane plans to find the exact spot where the best moments of his young life began.

He wants to see the bad angle again. He wants to put his skates in the matching spot in the lower left circle. He wants to attempt the same shot.

Yes, the 23-year-old star of the Blackhawks on Thursday will try to relive the ­experience of his overtime game-winner in Game 6 of the 2010 Stanley Cup finals when the Hawks return to Philadelphia for the first time since winning the Cup on June 9, 2010.

“I guess you could use the word surreal,” said Kane, who said he plans to find the spot of his game-winner during the Hawks’ morning skate. “To be honest with you, I don’t even remember making the move or shooting the puck. It all seems like it happened so quick.”

Kane is one of eight Hawks that remain from the Cup-winning team and who played in Game 6. All are looking forward to returning to play the Flyers in Philadelphia.

“It’s been a long time,” center Jonathan Toews said. “Just being back in that locker room, we’ll have some old stories that we can tell. There’s so many special moments.”

But for Kane, it might mean a little more. His goal definitely remains the pinnacle of his still young and promising career, and it’s a lasting scene in the minds of all Hawks fans.

“It’s hard to forget something like that,” Kane said. “It’s something that goes down in history and something you can never take away from someone.”

Looking at this season ­— one in which the Hawks have a good chance of being champions again —Kane also hopes the memories that come rushing back to him when he walks into the Flyers’ Wells Fargo Center (formerly Wachovia Center) will help ignite him offensively.

Fair or not, no Hawk takes more heat for his lack of offensive production than Kane. With two goals in his last 12 games and 36 points in 39 games, Kane has been approached incessantly about his struggles the last two weeks.

Kane still leads the Hawks with 27 assists, which were the eighth most in the league as of Wednesday. But he’s trying not to stress about his lack of goals.

“When the pucks aren’t going in, you just have to work harder and eventually you get a funny bounce,” Toews said. “It’s a weird thing, but a lot of confidence will just come rushing back. It’s not all about scoring, but [Kane will] find a way to get it back.”

But really, this is nothing new for Kane. He has experienced similar dry spells every season since he’s arrived in the NHL. Then at the end of each season, Kane either leads the Hawks in points or is close to it.

At 23, he’s a proven point-per-game player.

“You always try to be better than that,” Kane said. “I thought I was going to come in and have a big year. I thought I started out that way and for whatever reason it kind of faded off. You try work to get back to where you were at the start of the season. Hopefully, it doesn’t take a lot of time. I’ll just take it one game at a time and try to keep ­playing good.”

This season has felt different than others for Kane.

He underwent wrist surgery ­before training camp. He was then moved to center for the first 25 games of the season, before going back to his natural right wing for 12 games and then shifted back to center.

“It was just a couple different things that haven’t really worked out,” Kane said. “But there’s no need to make excuses. I’m playing with good players on both sides of the puck as far as defense, offense and power play. I just have to pick it up myself.”

Once he does, the Hawks will be much better off, especially as they adjust with so many young players in their lineup because of injuries. There is no reason to think that Kane won’t.

Coach Joel Quenneville dropped Kane to the second power-play unit for Thursday’s game. Kane saw it as a wake-up call.

“Everybody wants to score, ­especially top guys and guys that are known to score,” Quenneville said. “Getting one will certainly help his confidence around that scoring area.”

Maybe, checking out the left ­circle in Philadelphia will help.

“That’s what I’m hoping,” Kane said. “Hopefully, I’ll relive some ­moments there. Hopefully, it brings me some success again. I had some nice games in that rink and a lot of fun there, too.”



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