Nov 20, 2014; Calgary, Alberta, CAN; Chicago Blackhawks right wing Patrick Kane (88) celebrates the goal by defenseman Brent Seabrook (not pictured) with teammates during the second period against the Calgary Flames at Scotiabank Saddledome. Mandatory Credit: Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports
Patrick Kane has turned it on over the past couple of games, scoring two goals each in two of his last three games. Before that he had only done it once all season long. It’s no shock that the Blackhawks have started to heat up just as Patrick Kane has done the same, but the shock is how they are getting it done.
Kane is known for his playmaking ability and his quick hands. What has been a problem the last couple of seasons for Kane is the linemates he is partnered with. Some have worked, for example the Brandon Saad, Andrew Shaw and Kane combo worked wonders in the playoffs when the Hawks need a spark. Others, like being paired with Michal Handzus in the playoffs for long stretches of time, have been failures.
And when Coach Q has needed to completely re start the engine, he has gone to old reliable in Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews to get the team going. The regular season has been a roller coaster for Kane, having lineups change faster than a revolving door. From Bryan Bickell to Ben Smith to Saad and Kris Versteeg, Kane has seen ample playing time with all of these guys hoping that something sticks.
Well, it finally looks like something has. Kris Versteeg and Brad Richards. Since being traded back to the Hawks, it has been a bumpy road for Versteeg. His stint last year was up and down and he started this year injured. When he came back, it look as though last years version was going to return this year. But something changed, Versteeg was placed on a line with Brad Richards and Kane.
Since those three have joined together, it has been all fireworks for the Blackhawks and it couldn’t be more of a surprise. Richards hasn’t lived up to his billing since being brought in to the fold in Chicago and it looked as though Kane was going to have another year with another bad line. But this line has come together and has made Kane spark offensively and sparked two struggling players as well.
Having consistent lines can go a long way to consistent, winning hockey in the NHL and it’s what has plagued the Hawks in the past. Patrick Kane has proven he can play with just about anybody, even if they weigh him down. Now, having a line that is playing at a similar level to his play only makes the Hawks that much deeper and a much more scarier team come playoff time.