Even before the Blackhawks’ offense evaporated entirely in Monday’s shutout loss, Patrick Kane saw the writing on the wall for his point streak.
He’d relied on meaningless goals with the score already out of hand to preserve the streak through the Avalanche home-and-home, extending it to 15 consecutive games. And he’d tallied just one point in each of the last five games after exploding for multi-point outings several times earlier in November.
“It was a good run,” he said Monday. “I [could] see the chances were fading the last few games, and that maybe it was going to end here soon. I hadn’t really been generating as much as I want to.”
In the end, Kane’s streak produced 24 points — 11 goals, 13 assists — and lasted 28 days, starting with the OT loss at the Kings on Nov. 2 and finishing in Denver on Saturday.
It remains the longest streak the NHL has seen so far this season, even though it’s only the third-longest of Kane’s career, which has interestingly become streakier as it has gone along. Kane ripped out a 20-game streak just last season and enjoyed a historic 26-game run in 2015-16, the league’s longest since 1993.
Still, No. 88 hasn’t had many better months in his prolific career than November 2019. He was named the NHL’s Third Star of the Month and is now tied for eighth in the league (with Artemi Panarin, coincidentally) in points, with 33.
As the Hawks suffer through another depressing autumn — the team is back in the Western Conference cellar and now has the Marc Crawford investigation adding to the gloom — Kane’s incredible streak provided a much-needed bright spot, harkening back to years when both Kane and the Hawks dominated hockey.
“He has a knack, he comes through,” Jeremy Colliton said Monday. “He can create offense in different ways, and you know he’s done that. And our power play hasn’t really been on track, so there’s more there. Obviously the team success is most important, but he’s a big part of our team success when we have it.”
Kane said he was always aware of the number of consecutive games he’d scored in and that his confidence did tend to snowball slightly, making it easier with each passing night to produce another goal or assist.
But he otherwise tried to keep the streak out of his head while on the ice.
“It’s nice when you’re consistent and on a little run,” he said. “But every game you try to treat as a new slate, and produce scoring chances, produce chances for yourself, and play the right way, and hopefully those things take care of itself.”
After all, points aren’t always the most accurate reflection of performance.
“Sometimes it’s not all about the numbers, it’s about what you can bring to the team and how you play,” he added. “There’s been games in my career where I thought I’ve been awesome and haven’t put anything on the board, and there’s been games where I think I’ve been terrible and I’ve scored two or three points.”
That was the case Saturday, when Kane scored but the Hawks lost 7-3 and Kane bluntly said afterward he “wasn’t very good.”
It was also the case in the reverse way Monday, as Kane finished with the fifth-best scoring chance ratio on the team (often not one of his strong suits) despite an egg on the box score.
“[I’ll] try to get a couple days rest here and come back strong against Boston, get things going again,” he said.