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Kane's production is down, but he hasn't lost a step


Going into Wednesday, Patrick Kane ranked tied for 121st in the NHL this season with 22 points. His production is down, and it's very weird to see. But it's most certainly not because he's lost a step.

I watched Kane closely on Wednesday in a 4-2 loss to the Nashville Predators and it was legitimately one of his best games of the season. He was generating chances all night, and yet he had absolutely nothing to show for it with zero points.

That's been a microcosm of the season for Kane, and you could see his frustration after the game when he smashed his stick over the bench. He deserved at least three or four points, and the video backs it up.

Towards the end of the first period, Kane set up Max Domi with a perfect pass in the slot but Domi's shot went off Predators goaltender Juuse Saros' shoulder, then off his mask and out. I'm not sure how the puck took that kind of bounce, but it should've been a goal:

Early in the second period, Kane nearly connected with Domi again. His no-look backhand pass from behind the goal line went right to Domi, who did the best he could to get off a shot off-balance but it went wide:

Later in the period, Kane teed up Domi with a one-timer on the power play but he whiffed on the shot. The same thing happened with Andreas Athanasiou that came from a more low-danger area but his stick snapped.

Just before the Blackhawks scored two goals in 37 seconds, Kane rang one off the pipe that he thought was in. He was the one who started the play from his own end, too.

One of Kane's best chances of the night came early in the third period when Domi fed him a beautiful pass but Saros made a terrific stop. Kane scores on this nine out of 10 times.

In the final minutes of the game with the extra attacker on, Kane found Athanasiou with a ridiculous pass but the puck flubbed off Athanasiou's stick. If it didn't, it would've been a tap-in goal for Athanasiou.

And finally, perhaps a perfect encapsulation of how the night went for Kane, he was robbed by Saros in the dying seconds of the game with a desperation glove save. It was his ninth shot of the night, which is a new season-high. You can see Kane pick up the blade he snapped over the bench at the end of the clip below:

Kane's expected goals this season before Wednesday, according to Money Puck: 8.2. His actual goals? 4. I wouldn't be surprised if his expected goals rose to 9 after Wednesday's game. He's snakebitten right now, and it might only be a matter of time before he goes on a little heater for a course correction.

So yeah, if you think Kane's production isn't where it normally is because he's lost a step, you're sadly mistaken.

"I’m sure he’s frustrated," Blackhawks head coach Luke Richardson said. "He’s used to winning and having success just personally. He’s frustrated and everybody feels for him.

"But you know what, he’s pretty positive and vocal on the bench the next shift and talking to his linemates. Give him credit that he’s not showing that it’s a distraction for everybody else. He’s pissed that he’s not executing but he’s still generating chances. Until that doesn’t happen, I think there’s still always hope for the player, the team, and we have to make sure we support him just as we expect him to kind of lead us."

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