Pat "Showtime" Kane is money.
|Leading the charge: Kane (#88) leads the scoring parade down the bench for Chicago after his game-winner (via ESPN.com)|
Like Michael Jordan with the ball and seven seconds to go money. Like David Ortiz in the 9th inning money. Like Adam Vinatieri with one kick to win the game money.
There's no question about it: Pat Kane has firmly planted himself on that list for all-time. Today, right now, where we all sit in our place and pour over the highlight reel, Kane is the most clutch player in the NHL and there isn't anyone else who can claim otherwise.
Chicago's 25-year-old handcannon did it again last night in Game 6 in Los Angeles. With the Kings 11 minutes away from closing out the series and sending the defending champs home, it was Kane who stole the show with his two-act performance.
Part I: with his team down 3-2 after relinquishing two quick strikes in the third-period that seemed to have booked the home team's ticket to the Stanley Cup Final, Kane flipped a mind-bending behind-the-back pass across two LA skaters to hit a streaking Duncan Keith in space, who then ripped a wrist-shot past Jonathan Quick to tie the game.
No celebration for Tinseltown just yet.
Then, Part II: with just under four minutes to go, Kane worked his stick-handling magic in the Kings' zone, dragging the puck back and forth to open up his space, and making defenders back off him like they were staring down the Kraken and didn't want to get too close with their flimsy wooden twig of a spear. Kane skated to the open pocket just inside the blue-line, lined up his shot, cocked back and fired a bullet into the back of the net. 4-3 Blackhawks.
Game 7 to come Sunday night. The entirety of Blackhawks nation has Showtime Kane to thank.
Kane has scored seven points in the last two games with Chicago's season on the line. He netted a cool four assists in Game 5 and three more points in Game 6. He has a team-high 18 points in the playoffs. He's netted four game-winning goals in these playoffs alone and has seven playoff game-winning goals in total.
Showtime is already a two-time Cup champion. He won the Conn Smythe as playoff MVP last season. He netted 28 points in Chicago's 2010 run to the Cup. In 92 career playoff games, he's a point-per-game player, netting 37 goals 52 assists for 89 points.
With so much championship mettle shared between these two clubs, for something to give, a brilliant act of individual talent and skill had to be the determining factor in finding a winner. Kane was more than willing to take the stage.
The most dangerous man in the NHL wears #88 for the 'Hawks and there is no debate otherwise.
This awesome series is to end Sunday night in Chicago. The Kings will be playing their third straight Game 7. The Blackhawks will be looking to return to the Stanley Cup Finals for the second-consecutive year and third time in five years.
In a series that's already been one for the history books, Game 7 will be the final chapter in one of the most engaging and enthralling matchups in recent memory for the NHL.
It's a shame it has to end.
Chicago Blackhawks @ Los Angeles Kings: 4 - 3, series tied 3 - 3