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