Chicago Blackhawks

Blackhawks' Patrick Kane breaks slump

CHICAGO – All sorts of people called to try to help Patrick Kane as he struggled through one of his worst scoring droughts in recent memory.

Friends. Former coaches. Old teammates.

Although Kane appreciated the gestures, he decided to tune out the excess noise.

“Sometimes, you’ve just got to listen to your gut and what you know as a player,” Kane said Saturday before the Blackhawks hosted the Los Angeles Kings in Game 5 of the Western Conference finals. “That’s what I guess I tried to do out there.”

The plan worked.

Kane rushed toward the net and punched in a goal in Game 4, and he followed that by ripping a high shot past Kings goaltender Jonathan Quick on Saturday for his second goal in as many games.

“You’re obviously thankful to everyone that gives you advice, but you always rely on the coaches here and management here,” Kane said. “[They] have the best input and really know your game the best, especially since I’ve been here.”

Hawks coach Joel Quenneville said he was impressed by Kane’s determination.

“Top guys usually find ways to motivate themselves,” Quenneville said. “That’s what makes them special. They want to be the best they can be every single day. …

“I talked to Kaner the day before [Game 4]. He said he’s going to find a way to get it done. He wanted the puck.”

No more spectating: Hawks defenseman Duncan Keith returned to his familiar spot on the ice after serving a one-game suspension for his high stick against Kings forward Jeff Carter in Game 3.

Keith said he struggled to watch the game in street clothes instead of his typical No. 2 sweater. He looked far more comfortable Saturday as he scored the Hawks' first goal.

“It’s tough to watch,” Keith said. “When you’re playing every game and then all of a sudden you’re watching on TV, it’s just a different feeling altogether. I couldn’t really tell you, to be honest, if we were playing good or bad in the first period or what was going on.”

No comment: Keith sidestepped questions about what he thought of the NHL’s decision to suspend him for a playoff game.

Brendan Shanahan, the NHL’s senior vice president of player safety, explained his reasons for Keith’s suspension on the league’s official website.

“I don’t think it matters what my opinion is,” Keith said. “I said at the time I didn’t mean to get him where I got him. I know it doesn’t look good, but [I’m] glad that he’s back playing for them. It doesn’t matter what my opinion on the decision suspending me was.”

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