No player in the NHL is more valuable in the Stanley Cup playoffs than Chicago Blackhawks forward Patrick Kane.
The two-time champion and former Conn Smythe Trophy winner is one of, if not the most clutch player in the league.
Kane tallied the only goal in Chicago’s 1-0 win in Game 3 of their second-round playoff series against the Minnesota Wild on Tuesday night. In fact, Kane’s four goals in the series match Minnesota’s total as a team.
The Blackhawks lead the series 3-0 and need one more victory to reach the Western Conference final for the fifth time in eight seasons.
While the contributions from Blackhawks forwards Jonathan Tows and Marian Hossa, as well as defenseman Duncan Keith, have played key roles in the team’s success this postseason, the most important factor has been the play of Kane.
He wasn’t expected to return to the playoffs until the conference finals after fracturing his left clavicle in late February. Kane returned for the start of Round 1, though, and has emerged as one of the leading Conn Smythe candidates.
He’s posted 11 points (six goals, five assists) in nine playoff games, including an active four-game goal streak. His four multi-goal games since the start of last year’s playoffs is the most in that span. [tweet https://twitter.com/PR_NHL/status/595750526358269952 align=”center”]
The Blackhawks winger raised his career scoring record to 102 points in 102 playoff games, including nine game-winning goals, as a result of Tuesday’s performance. Of course, his most famous one was the Cup-clinching goal in overtime of Game 6 against the Philadelphia Flyers in 2010.
Kane will move into the top 10 of career playoff scoring among active players with one more point. When that happens, he’ll be the youngest player in that group at just 26 years old.
When Kane’s career is over, there’s a good chance he’ll be viewed as the best American player in NHL history. In the meantime, the Blackhawks look poised for a third championship in six seasons with Kane playing a leading role.
Thumbnail photo via Christopher Hanewinckel/USA TODAY Sports Images
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