Kane keeps hot streak alive in Blackhawks' loss to Preds

 
 
Updated 1/9/2019 10:53 PM
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  • Nashville Predators left wing Filip Forsberg (9) celebrates with teammates after scoring against the Chicago Blackhawks during the second period of an NHL hockey game Wednesday, Jan. 9, 2019, in Chicago.

    Nashville Predators left wing Filip Forsberg (9) celebrates with teammates after scoring against the Chicago Blackhawks during the second period of an NHL hockey game Wednesday, Jan. 9, 2019, in Chicago. Associated Press

  • Chicago Blackhawks left wing Brandon Saad (20) battles for the puck with Nashville Predators right wing Viktor Arvidsson (33) during the first period of an NHL hockey game Wednesday, Jan. 9, 2019, in Chicago.

    Chicago Blackhawks left wing Brandon Saad (20) battles for the puck with Nashville Predators right wing Viktor Arvidsson (33) during the first period of an NHL hockey game Wednesday, Jan. 9, 2019, in Chicago. Associated Press

When it comes to most players in the NHL, hot streaks tend to come and go.

But for the truly elite -- the Nikita Kucherovs, Alex Ovechkins, Connor McDavids and Patrick Kanes of the world -- hot streaks tend to come … and stay.

Those four forwards are tearing up the league once again, with Kucherov on pace to record the first 135-point season in more than 20 years, Ovechkin threatening to hit 60 goals, McDavid a near lock for his third straight 100-point campaign and Kane almost on pace to hit numbers from his 2015-16 MVP season.

As often has been the case during his career, Kane's doing it without the help of a star winger or centerman on his line. Opponents know who they need to stop, yet are often powerless to do so.

"I've said it all along -- even when he's scoring a ton -- it's almost not even that impressive because you just kind of expect it from him," said Jonathan Toews before Nashville defeated the Blackhawks 4-3 in overtime at the United Center on Wednesday. "Regardless of what our team's doing … he's producing no matter what and that's the most impressive part."

Kane picked up 2 more assists against the Predators, including the primary one on Artem Anisimov's tying goal with just 2:21 remaining in regulation. Filip Forsberg notched the game-winner 60 seconds into OT and also gave Nashville a 3-1 lead late in the second period.

Alex DeBrincat (21) and Jonathan Toews (18) also scored for the Hawks, and Collin Delia made 33 saves. Toews, after taking a gorgeous pass from Marcus Kruger, made it 3-2 on a short-handed goal with just 20 seconds remaining in the middle frame.

The Hawks (16-22-8) are now tied with the Avs for most overtime/shootout losses this season.

As for Kane, it's not like he's been perfect. But, remember, he was getting used to a new coach and a new system, so we probably should have expected a few rough patches.

To wit: Kane managed just 2 goals and 9 assists in Jeremy Colliton's first 13 games behind the bench. But, thanks in large part to a power play that's found its groove, Kane has 11 goals and 17 assists in the last 18 games.

"Sometimes you just kind of feel it," said Kane, whose 58 points rank sixth in the league. "Sometimes plays open up and you see things a little bit clearer than maybe you would other times. I think our power play's been a lot better, which has helped for sure. Excited about that."

Kane has also settled in nicely with linemates Dylan Strome and Anisimov. The trio started their 11th straight game together against Nashville.

"We've had some chemistry and I think we can be even better too," Kane said. "It definitely helps when you're playing with the same guys. You kind of know what to expect."

Unless the Hawks make an unlikely playoff run, Kane probably won't be a serious MVP candidate. But unlike other years when one could argue Corey Crawford was the Hawks' most important player, there's no doubt who holds that title this time around.

It's Kane. By a landslide.

"We can talk about what he brings to the table for a while," Colliton said. "But I do think he's sticking with it. When he gets a point early, typically those games he really racks it up.

"But recently he's been able to produce even when it doesn't start perfectly for him. And that will only benefit him if he can produce in those games where he maybe has to wait until 1:57 (remains) to really break through.

"Puck finds him in important times of the game."

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