Kane says scoring struggles make this frustrating season with Blackhawks

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Patrick Kane said that he’s frustrated with his lack of goal scoring for the Chicago Blackhawks but is trying to remain positive.

The forward has not scored a goal in more than a month and has seven this season.

“It’s been probably one of the more frustrating years for me personally so far,” Kane said Wednesday. “So, you know, try to do what you can get to get chances and when you get those chances, try to capitalize. Obviously, there’s been certain looks here or there, hitting posts, but you try to get as many chances as possible and hopefully come through.”

Kane leads the Blackhawks with 32 points (seven goals, 25 assists) in 32 games and has seven assists in a five-game point streak. Three of his goals were part of a four-point performance in a 5-1 win against the Ottawa Senators on Nov. 1. His most recent goal was scored in a 3-2 loss to the New York Rangers on Dec. 4.

His struggles follow last season, when Kane scored an NHL career-low 15 goals in 56 games. The fewest goals he’s scored in a full season is 21 in 2007-08, when Kane was a rookie. 

He has been dealing with an unspecified physical issue since before the 2020 Stanley Cup Playoffs but isn’t using that as an excuse and doesn’t plan on getting it fixed during this season.

“I mean, everyone’s dealing with something at this point of the year,” Kane said. “As a player, you’re always focused on certain things, trying to make your body feel as good as it possibly can, I think that’s no different for me in the situation I’m in now.”

Kane may have a new linemate when the Blackhawks (13-18-5) host the Montreal Canadiens on Thursday (8:30 p.m. ET; NBCSCH, TSN2, RDS, ESPN+, NHL LIVE). Lukas Reichel, the No. 17 pick in the 2020 NHL Draft, was recalled from Rockford of the American Hockey League on Wednesday and practiced at center on the top line with left wing Dylan Strome and Kane at right wing. Reichel is expected to make his NHL debut Thursday.

“I know he’s been doing well in Rockford and seems like he has the ability to play with a lot of speed up the middle, which I’ve always enjoyed in my career. He has the ability to make a lot of plays, too,” Kane said of Reichel, who has scored 20 points (11 goals, nine assists) in 20 AHL games this season.

“For him, I think the most important thing is playing his game. He’s a young kid, but he’s fast, he can play with speed and it can be an effective line with ‘Stromer’ as well.”

Blackhawks coach Derek King said he’s had discussions with Kane, who has maintained an even keel despite the goal slump.

“He’s playing some good hockey, he’s making things happen, he’s rung a few posts, I know that,” King said. “He’s had opportunities and eventually it’ll go in. But that being said, he’s still making things happen when he has the puck, so that’s all we have to worry about.”

The 33-year-old is third in Blackhawks history with 411 goals and 1,120 points in 1,061 games. He has hit some posts during his 13-game drought and averaged 2.77 shots on goal. He’s optimistic they’ll start going in again soon.

“I don’t think the last game or two were my best games, but I think before that, there was a lot of chances coming along,” Kane said. “I think when you’re creating and hitting posts, getting chances, getting clear shots, setting guys up, you’re always trying to make the right play as an offensive guy, then kind of let the goals and assists work themselves out after that.” 

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