While the Los Angeles Kings have enjoyed such strong work from their second line that it’s inspiring sitcom-related nicknames, the Chicago Blackhawks are hoping for more from the likes of Patrick Kane. In other words, they’re hoping that history repeat itself.
Sure, it’s unsettling that the 25-year-old star hasn’t generated a single point in three games against Los Angeles, but he only produced one assist through Games 1-3 of the 2013 Western Conference finals against this same opponent.
Starting in Game 4 in 2013, Kane began a rampage that helped him secure the Conn Smythe Trophy. He scored a goal in Game 4 against the Kings before generating a hat trick – including the series clincher in double overtime – to advance Chicago to the Stanley Cup Final.
The Blackhawks winger almost seems to become more dangerous as postseasons progress; He capped a great 2010 playoff run by scoring eight points (three goals, five assists) in the last four games against the Philadelphia Flyers to win Chicago’s first Stanley Cup of the Kane – Jonathan Toews era. (That included Kane’s odd and memorable Cup-clinching goal against Michael Leighton, of course).
Let there be no doubt about it; Kane seems concerned.
Still, there have been some chances … they just haven’t been resulting in goals.
The solution? Kane believes that he needs to assert himself:
The Kings know from experience that Kane can take over a game or even multiple playoff games when he gets going. The Blackhawks seem confident that he can pull it off again.
Buffalo has put blueliner Matt Donovan on waivers, per Sportsnet.
Donovan, 25, signed a one-year deal with the Sabres on the opening day of free agency after spending his entire professional career with the Isles organization.
The fact he’s being waived isn’t a huge shock. Donovan failed to draw into a single Sabres game this year despite a whittled-down blueline; Jake McCabe, recently called up from AHL Rochester, drew into the lineup for Monday’s win over Columbus at the expense of Carlo Colaiacovo, who played the first two games of the year.
The fact both McCabe and Colaiacovo were ahead on the depth chart didn’t bode well for Donovan. Today’s move could also suggest that Zach Bogosian, who hasn’t played this year due to injury, is ready to return.
Looks as though slumping Dallas winger Valeri Nichushkin could be a healthy scratch tonight when the Stars host the Oilers at American Airlines.
Per the Morning-News, Nichushkin — who barely played in the second and third periods of Saturday’s 6-3 loss to Colorado — is likely to be replaced by Colton Sceviour in the lineup.
Stars head coach Lindy Ruff was fuming after the Avs defeat, calling it “embarrassing, worse than disappointing.” It didn’t take a genius to realize one of the players in his doghouse was Nichushkin, who had just 2:02 of ice time in the second period and 3:24 in the third.
Yesterday, Ruff dropped Nichushkin to the fourth line in practice.
“I’ve been trying to help him by shifting him around,” the head coach explained. “He had some struggles early in camp on right wing, so I put him on left, and he doesn’t seem real comfortable at left right now.
“His game, everything has got to get a little bit quicker.”
The 10th overall pick in 2013, Nichushkin has struggled to build on the form shown in his rookie campaign, when he scored 14 goals and 34 points in 79 contests.
He missed nearly all of last season with a linger hip ailment and has been a virtual non-factor through the first two games this year.