Blackhawks notes: Patrick Kane’s best comes as team is at its worst
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NEW YORK — Patrick Kane is on a blazing run that has him on track for the biggest individual season of his career, but the Blackhawks are the worst they’ve been since he arrived.
Kane is doing everything he can, but often it’s not enough.
“When you’re losing games you always feel there’s a little bit more to give and there’s a play here or there you could have made to change the outcome,” he said at morning skate Thursday. “We’re not perfect in here. We can’t be perfect, but I think after every game everyone thinks there’s something they can do better.”
The Hawks have gotten plenty from Kane lately.
He played 28:50 minutes Monday, his career high for a regular-season game, while trying to bail the Hawks out of a dreadful loss to the Devils. He finished at
plus-2, which is impressive considering the Hawks fell to 8-5.
Kane didn’t mind the extra work.
“I felt like I could have kept going,” he said.
He had two goals and two assists against the Devils, giving him 14 and 19 in his last 19 games. He’s on pace for 45 goals and 109 points; the latter would be a personal best and the former would match his high set in 2015-16.
Kane is headed to his eighth NHL All-Star Game next weekend and will be the only Hawks representative. The team is assured of being no higher than sixth place in the Central Division at that point.
“We’ve definitely left some points on the table,” Kane said. “Pretty frustrating given where we’re at in the standings.
“I think we still know how to play well [and] we still know what we have to do to win games . . . Hopefully, we’ll finish strong here and get a couple wins and you feel good going into [the break].”
Jeremy Colliton continues to work through line combinations and hasn’t found the look he wants.
He tried 11 forwards and seven defensemen against the Devils but scrapped that against the Rangers. Recently acquired defenseman Slater Koekkoek was a healthy scratch in the move back to 12 forwards.
Colliton set up Jonathan Toews’ line with Brandon Saad and Alex DeBrincat. Kane played with Dylan Strome and Drake Caggiula. The defensemen remain a work-in-progress as well.
“We can play better,” Colliton said. “I don’t think we have the perfect combos yet and we’re trying to find how it’s going to look down the road, too.
“Some of the combos are familiar and some are not, but I think that’s just how a season goes. You’re not going to stick with the same ones all the time.”