We all knew Patrick Kane would eventually have a night without a point for the Chicago Blackhawks, and for the first time in the last 27 outings, that came to fruition Tuesday. The Colorado Avalanche ended Kane’s record-setting consecutive-games-with-a-point-streak in the Blackhawks’ 3-0 loss at home to the Avs.
Pretty much all the discussion surrounding the Blackhawks in recent weeks dealt with Kane’s run of success. Only Corey Crawford‘s own success and a trade sending Trevor Daley to Pittsburgh were able to break this trend, and even those items didn’t keep Kane’s streak from being the go-to item for media outlets with the Blackhawks.
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Well, they might be able to go with that for Thursday’s game against Buffalo, except with a “What now?” approach. But after that, we won’t have a noteworthy streak to talk about in Chicago. This is unfortunate from a perspective of Kane compiling points, but there may be more positives than negatives associated with the streak ending.
Kane’s streak more or less overshadowed others things going on with Chicago hockey. And while the Blackhawks have recently made a climb in the Central Division standings, things are far from perfect for the men in the Indian Head. The defense is quite a mess, with two near-retirees making up its third pairing. The offensive attack is inconsistent at best, something we’ve known for some time but that got pushed to the background when Kane was producing a point per night for weeks on end. Meanwhile, Crawford and Scott Darling are seeing far too many shots on goal and being forced to stand on their heads to keep the Blackhawks in some games.
With Kane’s streak aside, the focus for the Blackhawks can be on addressing these issues, not addressing how Kane is going to get his one point for the night. It’d be silly to say the Blackhawks can’t multitask in their thought processes, but it’s just one less thing for everyone — especially Kane — to worry about night in and night out.
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As an additional note for this, with Kane’s streak over, the second line could be up for reorganization. Artem Anisimov is really struggling to win draws, and thus maintain possession for two big-time playmakers. And Artemi Panarin still finds himself making rookie mistakes in his puck handling and offensive-zone decision making. The Blackhawks’ second line has gone quiet after providing all of the Chicago offense for a while, and perhaps one of the big reasons it was staying together was because Kane was still putting up a point per night. Now, the option of breaking up this line if necessary is more openly on the table.
Looking at Kane individually, I don’t know that his streak ending does much for him, so far as lifting a weight off his shoulders or anything like that. I think Kane expects to go out and put up multiple points each night, so the fact he didn’t Tuesday — regardless of what it means in the grand scheme of things — probably disappoints him. Still, he’s probably happy he’ll be answering fewer questions about catching the streaks of Mario Lemieux and Wayne Gretzky, as those were very lofty goals that were unlikely to be attained.
Kane’s streak was fun for fans while it lasted, and it had to have been fun for Kane himself and his teammates. But there has to be a sense of relief that it has passed as well.