BOSTON -- With all the huge plays he has made through his career, it's hard to believe that Chicago Blackhawks forward Patrick Kane is still only 24 years old. Indeed, he was only 21 in 2010 when he scored one of the wildest -- and most unusual -- Cup-winning overtime goals in NHL history.
He has added to that resume of big goals since then, particularly in the past two weeks. So with all that history on his side, it's no wonder the hockey world will have at least one eye on Kane when he takes the ice with a chance to clinch a Stanley Cup championship Monday in Game 6 (8 p.m. ET, NBC, CBC, RDS) at TD Garden.
"You know, we were just kind of talking about that. I don't know, I think the stars would have to be aligned right for it to happen like that again," Kane said Sunday afternoon shortly after the team arrived in Boston. "I think the biggest thing is trying to help contribute any way I can. Help this team get a win, especially the situation we're in. We have a great opportunity. I'll do whatever I can to help the team win, and it would be a great feeling."
If Kane were to strike again for a Cup-winning goal in Game 6, it's highly unlikely it would happen the way it did three years ago. Kane's Cup-clinching overtime tally against the Philadelphia Flyers in 2010 came from a seemingly impossible angle. Tucked in the far corner, he fired the puck towards Flyers goaltender Michael Leighton. For a moment, the puck appeared to disappear, but Kane, knowing it had gone underneath Leighton and into the net, began the Cup celebration.
That memorable 2010 marker may have been unusual, but Kane's big-game goals these last few days have befitted the skill that the Blackhawks saw when they selected him first overall in the 2007 NHL Draft.
In the series-clinching fifth game against the Los Angeles Kings, Kane closed out the series with a perfect shot off an equally-flawless cross-ice feed from Jonathan Toews. The highlight-reel winner capped a three-goal night for Kane and sent Chicago to the Stanley Cup Final. Exactly two weeks later, Kane struck twice in Game 5 against the Bruins, including a gorgeous game-winner in which he calmed a rolling puck before roofing it over Boston goaltender Tuukka Rask.
In all his NHL glory, it's easy to forget that he also assisted on both of his team's goals in Team USA's 3-2 overtime loss to Canada in the gold-medal game at the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver.
Any way you slice it, Kane seems to have a flair for the dramatic.
"That's the type of player he is. When it comes down to the wire in big games, that's when he wants the puck. That's when he wants to score the big goals," Blackhawks defenseman Niklas Hjalmarsson said. "It's huge [having] those kind of players on your team when you go far in the playoffs. Now it's really coming down to the wire here and it gives the whole group confidence that you have players like that. It's not a coincidence that he has a lot of big goals so far in his career. It's just the type of player he is."
At just 24 years of age with seemingly countless years left to add to that big-game legacy, there's no time like the present for Kane to score another goal for the record books. The hockey world will certainly be watching.