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Kane looks for answers to scoring drought

by Staff Writer / Chicago Blackhawks

LOS ANGELES -- Chicago Blackhawks right wing Patrick Kane went back to an old, reliable habit a few days ago to try to pull himself out of a prolonged scoring slump.

"The other day, myself and my dad watched all my playoff goals from my career," Kane said Wednesday from Staples Center. "It's cool to watch those things, it gives you a little confidence. [We were] looking for anything, the way they defend, the way I play -- anything."

They were watching a lot of video from 2009 and 2010, because Kane has three goals in 28 Stanley Cup Playoff games since scoring the Cup-winning overtime goal in Game 6 against the Philadelphia Flyers three years ago. He was held without a goal for a season-high seventh straight game Tuesday night as the Los Angeles Kings picked up a 3-1 win to pull within 2-1 in the best-of-7 Western Conference Final series.

Kane opened up following practice Wednesday concerning his lack of production in the current postseason, saying he has an idea what he has to do to pull out of his current slump. He said it's as much about effort as it is about execution, two areas in which he has to be better Thursday in Game 4 here (9 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, RDS).

"You can watch video, watch clips of yourself doing good in the past," Kane said. "For me, personally, I think it's all about willpower and getting the puck and going to do it -- having that mindset that you're going to do it.

"It's not like all of a sudden you're a bad player. It just doesn't happen like that. I'm still a good player. I can still make plays. I just got to have the confidence and will to do it."

Kane had that confidence and will to get the puck and produce throughout the regular season, when he was fifth in the NHL in goals (23) and points (55) in 47 games. He has been quiet in the playoffs with two goals and eight assists in 15 games.

Kane admitted he's been guilty of watching and waiting on the periphery of the play for something to happen instead of getting his nose dirty to stir things up in order to create his opportunities. He said he's skating with the puck less, too, and that may have something to do with a sag in confidence because he hasn't scored as often -- or even remotely close to as often -- as he's used to.

"I look back at all three games [against Los Angeles] -- I probably didn't play my best, but I still have had one or two good chances in each game to score," Kane said. "There could be more obviously, but when you're getting one or two [scoring chances], you've got to bear down and make sure those count."

Kane lamented his missed opportunity to make a difference with his rare chances in Game 3, especially after Bryan Bickell scored late in the second period to cut the deficit to 2-1 entering the third.

"Our team didn't play the best game, but it's a game I can step up in," Kane said. "There's been a lot of guys stepping up in playoffs and whether I get a big goal or a big pass, whatever it might be, that's a game I feel I need to do something to help us win."

He instead played 20 rather unimpressive minutes and was minus-1 with two shots on goal.

"He didn't have the puck much [Tuesday night]," Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville said after the game. "I think he's way more dangerous when he has it. That time and space is always going to be limited on top guys. You have to find a way to get the puck and find a way to want it."

Following practice Wednesday, Quenneville expounded on what Kane has to do against the Kings despite the lack of time and space he's used to having in the regular season.

"The team game is something you can maybe hang your hat on, something you look for," Quenneville said. "That's what we're looking for."

Are the Blackhawks getting enough from Kane in the team game to make up for what they're losing in production?

"We're looking for a little more," Quenneville answered.

Kane knows that. He said he understands his responsibilities aren't limited to scoring goals or at least creating scoring chances -- but it's quite difficult for a guy like Kane, who is paid to produce and has a Stanley Cup-winning goal on his resume, not to let his entire game be affected by a scoring slump at this time of year.

"When you know your job is to score goals and set up plays it's obviously going to affect you mentally," Kane said. "I think if you ask any player that, they'd be lying to you if they said it's not frustrating."

Quenneville understands that, too, which is why he wants to see Kane battle to have the puck more than he has had it against the Kings, especially in Game 3.

"When he has more speed in his game, he seems to have the puck a lot more," Quenneville said. "When he's playing his best hockey he has the puck, he's dangerous with it, being off the rush, in-zone, coming out of our end. I just think when he has the puck, not too many players in the League can do what he can do."

Kane and his dad can attest to that. They saw it on tape a few days ago when they watched all of his 22 career playoff goals. They won't get to watch No. 23 any time soon unless Kane raises his battle level against the Kings.

"From now on I have to have the will to do it," Kane said. "Stop thinking that maybe this is going to be the game or the next game is going to be the game and make sure my next opportunity is the one that's going to happen."

Follow Dan Rosen on Twitter: @drosennhl

Author: Dan Rosen | Senior Writer

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