You don't need to explain to Patrick Kane what the dog days of the season mean.
He's been living it.
Kane still hasn't scored a goal in 10 games, although he is hoping the fact he finally converted a shootout attempt Sunday to give the Blackhawks a 3-2 victory over Boston will help get his game back on track.
"Usually games 40 to 60 are the hardest to get through," Kane said. "It's kind of a grind. You're excited for the start of the season, but the middle gets a little dull.
"It was nice that we had two big games against two great teams to get us back up there. It was good for everyone to have that challenge."
Kane had been 0-for-9 in shootout attempts before Sunday; as a team the Hawks were 4-6.
"With the record we've had in shootouts it's always nice to score," Kane said. "It was definitely nice to capitalize."
Coach Joel Quenneville tried everything he could to get Kane going in the shootout, including dropping him to third in the order. But he never went away from his star.
"You look at his numbers coming into the season and he's got a pretty high efficiency record," Quenneville said. "This year has been an odd number, but we keep sticking with him and the due factor is part of it. He made a nice shot and a great move.
"Getting the win in that fashion is something that is going to help us going forward knowing we were a little gun shy in overtime and shootouts."
Quenneville did opt to let the Bruins go first Sunday, which was a change in thinking, and Jonathan Toews scored coming out of the chute after Boston's Ryan Spooner hit the post. Toews knew it was only a matter of time before Kane scored in the shootout.
"He scores every time in practice," Toews said. "At some point they're bound to go in. It happens to the best scorers and best shooters. You can't score every time. It was nice to see him finish it off that way."
Goalie Corey Crawford never lost confidence in Kane.
"I think everyone on the bench thinks he's going to score every time he goes out for the shootout," Crawford said. "We don't care what he was before."
Quenneville felt the games with Anaheim and Boston came at the right time.
"It was good for us," he said. "This four-game homestand, I thought we played the right way all four games and did a lot of good things. We took it one game at a time. I thought the approach and the four-line rotation was better than we've seen over that recent stretch.
"We've got a real intense schedule on the road here coming up, so it was nice to have some success here at home."
The Hawks play nine of their next 10 games on the road. Because of that and the two-week Olympic break, Sunday's game against Winnipeg will be their last game at the United Center until March 4. The March 1 game against Pittsburgh is at Soldier Field.
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