Later on this week, we're going to delve into the evolution of Patrick Kane, but for now let's just sit and admire the play he's demonstrated in the past couple of weeks for the Chicago Blackhawks.
On Saturday night, the Hawks will head to Los Angeles for a tilt with the Kings, which will represent the conclusion of the annual Circus Trip. The club was sent off on a high note, decimating the Dallas Stars at home by a 6-2 count and demonstrating their offensive firepower that hasn't always been as prevalent as we'd like this season. Regardless of what happens in their matchup against the defending Stanley Cup champions on Saturday, we can already declare this Circus Trip as a massive success.
The primary reason we can provide you with such a #HotTake over the success of the trip is due to the performance of Patrick Kane, who has been on an absolute tear over this past stretch of games. He's been doing so both in the goal scoring department, and with his ability to set others up, demonstrating his typical highlight reel talents on a seemingly nightly basis.
Earlier this year, there were those that were very critical of Patrick Kane, as is typically the case with him, both inside and out of Chicago. Coming off of a year in which he played with Michal Handzus as his primary center on the second line, Joel Quenneville failed to provide Kane with an offensively competent center, with Andrew Shaw riding it out as the no. 2 pivot to start the year, despite Brad Richards getting a run with Kane for much of the preseason.
Kane began the year with three points in his first two games, and three goals in his first five games overall, before seemingly falling silent. After scoring in the fifth game of the year, on October 21st, he didn't find the back of the net again until the 13th game, on November 4th. Following a loss to the Detroit Red Wings, though, Quenneville changed up the lines in a way that has benefited Kane in the best possible way, and the results have been outstanding.
After the trouncing of the Anaheim Ducks in their own building on Friday, Kane ran his goal total in his last seven games up to six. That total included a pair against Anaheim, one of which was an empty netter. The other came on a gorgeous feed from the upstart Kris Versteeg. It followed a game in which Kane tallied a trio of assists, two of which were of the highlight reel variety, one to Andrew Shaw and the game-winner to Bryan Bickell. In his last seven games, he has 13 points overall.
With that recent stretch, Kane has ran his point total on the season up to 23, which ranks 13th in the league. We say every year that Patrick Kane deserves some love for the Hart Trophy, and he hasn't exactly received it to this point. It's still only November, at least for a couple more days, but his recently torrid pace, coupled with the fact that it correlates directly with the Hawks making their way up the Western Conference standings, could help to make it an actual reality this year.
Randy Holt is a staff writer for Second City Hockey. You can follow him on Twitter @RandallPnkFloyd.