Tag: Patrick Kane

2015 NHL Stanley Cup Final - Game Four

Kane trying to not let Hedman get in his head


CHICAGO — With no goals and just one assist in the first five games of the Stanley Cup Final, Patrick Kane’s offensive production has been notably absent for the Chicago Blackhawks.

One very good reason for that is that Victor Hedman, the Lightning defenseman who’s been a two-way force all throughout the playoffs, no more than in this series.

“He’s a special player,” Kane said this morning. “Not only is he big (and) has a good stick, he’s smart, he’s a great skater. He seems to have all the tools to lock someone down. He’s definitely been impressive throughout the series.”

In Game 5 on Saturday, Kane spent 9:17 of his 15:48 in total ice time with Hedman out there as well.

At home tonight in Game 6, Joel Quenneville should be able to get Kane away from Hedman a bit more. The Blackhawks’ coach has confidence his star forward will come through.

“Kaner, eventually he’ll find a way,” said Quenneville. “That’s what makes him the competitor he is.”

Regardless of the match-ups, Kane doesn’t want to overthink the situation.

“I think when you’re on the ice, you gotta be aware who’s out there, especially for defensive purposes,” he said.

“But sometimes when you think too much about playing against one certain guy, it can backfire on you a little bit. So we’re just worried about playing our game, not worried about what he’s going to do out there too much.”

Kane by series
Nashville: 2 goals, 5 assists in 6 games
Minnesota: 5 goals, 1 assist in 4 games
Anaheim: 3 goals, 4 assists in 7 games
Tampa Bay: 0 goals, 1 assist in 5 games

With offense sputtering, Stamkos says ‘I’ve got to be better’


TAMPA — Two goals, two losses and on the brink of elimination.

That’s the situation the Tampa Bay Lightning are in following Saturday’s Game 5 loss to the Blackhawks. The Bolts have frittered away a 2-1 series lead and seen their offense disappear with it; despite firing 57 shots at Corey Crawford over the last two games, they have precious little to show for it.

At the center of that dry spell? Steven Stamkos.

source:  The Lightning captain is goalless in the Stanley Cup Final, a scoring slump that dates back to Game 5 of the Rangers series. Saturday, he fired just one puck on net (three attempts total, which is also alarming) and was ineffective during a third period in which Tampa tried to rally, but came up short.

“You have to find a way,” Stamkos said following Saturday’s loss. “We had some looks at the end, it’s just not good enough to get looks right now. We have to find a way. We have to find a way to score some goals.

“It starts with me. I’ve got to be better.”

A series that promised to be an offensive showcase — and, at times during Games 2 and 3, lived up to the billing — has morphed into a defensive, tight-checking affair. The teams have combined to score just six goals over the last two games and while Stamkos isn’t the only high-profile player without a marker (remember, Patrick Kane hasn’t scored either), he’s now clearly feeling the pressure as it’s the Lightning, not the Blackhawks, that can’t afford to lose another game.

Even though he’s struggled, Stamkos said he welcomes the challenge ahead.

“We’ve got one game,” he explained. “It’s going to come down to how much we want to extend our season and what we’re willing to do. This group has come too far not to leave it all on the ice next game.

“We’re experienced in these situations. We’ve gone through it already this playoffs, we’ve found a way.”

Blackhawks’ Kane still searching for his first goal of 2015 Stanley Cup Final


It’s crunch time for ‘Showtime.’

Four games into this Stanley Cup Final between the Chicago Blackhawks and Tampa Bay Lightning, Patrick Kane has yet to score in this series.

He has one assist, which came in a Game 4 win for the Blackhawks. This series has shifted back to Tampa Bay for Game 5 on Saturday. So far, every game has been decided by just one goal.

Should Kane snap his drought, it could push the advantage closer in the direction of the Blackhawks in a tight series, all even in what is now a best-of-three battle. Maybe, at this point, that means a more long-lasting reunion with Jonathan Toews?

“I think he goes through stretches where he doesn’t produce, but he does a lot of other things that are healthy for our team game,” Blackhawks head coach Joel Quenneville told reporters on Friday.

“All of a sudden, you know, he hits the scoreboard and then it’s tough to keep him off it.”

Kane enters Game 5 with nine shots on goal in this series. In two of four games, he’s had a Corsi For rating greater than 55 per cent, according to war-on-ice.com. He went through a shorter two-game drought to start the Western Conference Final before erupting for seven points, including five in the final two games.

“We just know you got to keep working, keep finding ways to create chances,” Toews told reporters. “Eventually believe those bounces are going to go your way.”

See you Saad-urday: ‘Hawks hang on, even Stanley Cup Final 2-2


CHICAGO — It wasn’t an oil painting.

But it was a win.

The Chicago Blackhawks did just enough on Wednesday night, holding off a furious late Lightning rally to win 2-1 in Game 4 of the Stanley Cup Final, evening the series at two games apiece.

Brandon Saad, one of the team’s best skaters over the last two contests, scored the game-winning goal at 6:22 of the third period on an assist from Patrick Kane — his first point of the series — and the ‘Hawks then held on for dear life over the final minutes, as the Bolts threw everything, kitchen sink and all, at Corey Crawford.

Crawford was the story late, making a flurry of saves in the face of serious pressure.

But early on, the guy in the other net was making headlines.

Russian rookie Andrei Vasilevskiy, 20, was the surprise starter in goal after Tampa Bay ruled out Ben Bishop just prior to gametime. While there’s still no indication of what’s bothering Bishop or how he’s feeling, whatever the ailment is proved severe enough to sideline him for the first time this series — this coming after his gutsy Game 3 performance, in which he stopped 36 shots while clearly laboring.source: Getty Images

Vasilevskiy was the story early, but that narrative faded as the game went on. For a team facing a potential 3-1 series deficit, Chicago didn’t exactly come storming out the gates; they did little to test Vasilevskiy in the opening frame, going the first eight minutes without putting a shot on goal, finishing the opening frame with just seven.

In the end, Vasilevskiy was only beaten twice on a grand total of 19 shots — once by Jonathan Toews (his first of the series) in the second period, and the game-winner by Saad in the third.

The Lightning, meanwhile, could only put one past Crawford, and it too came in the second period. Alex Killorn scored at the 11:47 mark, continuing Tampa’s trend of quickly erasing Chicago’s leads in this series:

What Tampa was unable to do tonight, however, was erase that second lead — though it wasn’t for a lack of trying. The Bolts will feel unlucky after carrying play for long stretches tonight, and probably deserved a better fate from a third period in which they out-shot the ‘Hawks 8-5 (25-19 overall).

As for the ‘Hawks? Well, a win’s a win and tonight’s was crucially important. It puts them back on even terms heading into Saturday’s pivotal Game 5, which will go from Amalie Arena in Tampa Bay.

Tonight’s result means the 2015 Stanley Cup Final will go to at least six games — and given how good it’s been so far, that’s a welcome development.


Toews’ goal was his 10th of the postseason, a career-high…Vasilevskiy became the sixth goalie in NHL history to make his first playoff start in the Stanley Cup Final, joining Joe Miller (Rangers, 1928), Alfie Moore (‘Hawks, 1938), Paul Goodman (‘Hawks, 1938), Hank Bassen (Red Wings, 1961) and Jussi Markkanen (Oilers, 2006)…Killorn’s goal was his ninth in 24 playoff games, after scoring 15 in 71 regular season contests…Every game in this series has now been decided by one goal: the ‘Hawks captured Games 1 and 4 by identical 2-1 scorelines, while Tampa Bay won the middle contests 4-3 and 3-2.

Would Pittsburgh really make a play for Brandon Saad? (Updated)

Daniel Sedin Sheldon Brookbank

CHICAGO — At the moment, Brandon Saad is a key part of a Chicago Blackhawks team looking to win its third Stanley Cup in the last six seasons.

Not long from now, though, Saad will be something else — a restricted free agent.

And that has people talking.

On TSN’s Insider Trading yesterday, Pierre LeBrun offered this nugget (transcript courtesy Today’s Slapshot):

[Saad’s] a guy you’ve heard his name attached to offer sheets maybe because the Hawks have all of these salary cap problems. I’ll tell you this. I know this. He’s a Pittsburgh native and the Penguins do have interest. What a splash that would make. They need a top-6 winger.

I don’t think that Brandon Saad is going anywhere. The Blackhawks covet him way too much. But it’s worth noting, the Penguins like the player.

There’s also this, from DK on Pittsburgh Sports’ Josh Yohe:

[Penguins GM] Jim Rutherford can’t comment on other teams’ players because of NHL tampering rules, but I mentioned Saad as an example when posing a general question to the Penguins’ GM about pursuing restricted free agents.

He isn’t against it.

“Let me say this about restricted free agents out there: We’ll always play within the rules,” Rutherford said. “If there is a situation that comes up, we’ll think about it.

“As long as it’s OK under the CBA, if there’s a player out there that we think can make us better, we won’t be afraid to consider making an offer.”

Now before we go too deep here, remember — offer sheets are rarely signed (Brough broke down the reasons why quite thoroughly last week.) It also seems really, really unlikely Blackhawks GM Stan Bowman would let his prized youngster go under any circumstances; last week, Bowman flatly told the Chicago Tribune he’ll get Saad signed.

But it’s easy to see why there’s smoke around Saad-to-Pittsburgh.

As mentioned above, there’s the hometown connection. The Pens are also always on the lookout for wingers to play with Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin and the 22-year-old Saad, a blossoming star that scored a career-high 23 goals this year, would be more of a long-term solution (rather than some of the short-term fixes the club tried previously.)

And then there’s Chicago’s financial future.

How much can the ‘Hawks afford to pay Saad? Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews start pulling down $10 million cap hits next year and Bowman has his eye on an extension for Brent Seabrook, who’s unrestricted after next season. On the RFA front, Marcus Kruger and Joakim Nordstrom need new deals this year, and Andrew Shaw the next.

Now remember — for all this talk about how an offer sheet would make sense, it just doesn’t happen all that often. The last one signed was in 2013 (Ryan O’Reilly with Calgary) and the last player to actually leave via the offer sheet?

Eight years ago. When Dustin Penner bolted Anaheim to join the Oilers.

Update: It’s worth noting that, because of the Daniel Winnik trade at this year’s deadline, Pittsburgh doesn’t own its own second-round pick at the 2016 NHL Entry Draft — which they’d all but assuredly need to sign Saad to an offer sheet. This doesn’t rule out the possibility of acquiring him via trade (or, trading with Toronto to get the pick back), but it does put the rumors in a different light.