Chicago already has a Captain Serious.
Maybe it’s time for a Captain Clutch.
On Saturday night at the United Center, Patrick Kane staked claim to that moniker, scoring two goals — including the game-winner — to give the Blackhawks a 3-1 win over Boston in Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Final.
“It’s not a coincidence that Kaner makes the big goals,” ‘Hawks defenseman Niklas Hjalmarsson said. “He wants the puck when it comes down to the wire.”
Chicago head coach Joel Quenneville tried to explain what makes Kane so special.
“Kaner’s got high-end skill,” Quenneville said following the game. “He’s dangerous with the puck. His anticipation without it offensively is high-end.”
High-end skill is one thing, sure, but if Kane has shown a singular defining characteristic over this playoff run and playoff runs prior, it’s a flair for the dramatic
In 2009, he delivered his first major knockout blow — a hat-trick in Game 6 of the Western Conference finals against Vancouver, eliminating the Canucks from playoff contention.
In 2010, he scored the Cup-winning goal against Philadelphia, finishing Game 6 in overtime to give Chicago its first championship in 49 years.
This year, he KOed the defending champion Los Angeles Kings in the Western Conference finals with (another) three-goal epic, and outdid his stellar ’09 hat trick by scoring the third and final goal in double overtime.
Then, there were tonight’s heroics.
Both of Kane’s tallies displayed the type of high-end skill Quenneville alluded to, including the game-winner — No. 88 roofed home a backhand that knocked Tuukka Rask’s water bottle off the top of the net.
“Guys [like Kane] have kind of an innate skill in scoring, being a top player,” Quenneville explained. “They anticipate like the rest of us would like to.”
Kane now has six goals in his last seven games, and leads the Blackhawks in scoring in the Stanley Cup Final with three goals, two assists and five points.
Yet in the end, it won’t be the number of goals that defines Kane.
It’ll be the way that he scored them, the times that he scored them, and the legacy he’s building as one of the NHL’s most productive players in pressure situations.
“The difference in this game,” NBC’s Liam McHugh said during tonight’s broadcast, “is the man, the myth, the mullet.”