Can a Kane-Toews line spark offense?
June, 19, 2013
By Scott Powers | ESPN.com
Victor Decolongon/Getty ImagesGood things happened last time Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews were on the same line in the playoffs.BOSTON -- The last time Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews started together on the same line, Kane scored three goals, Toews tallied two assists and the Chicago Blackhawks won.
The Blackhawks wouldn't mind those same results again on Wednesday night.
Kane and Toews again skated together along with Bryan Bickell on a line during the team's morning skate prior to Game 4 of the Stanley Cup finals against the Boston Bruins on Wednesday.
Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville wouldn't guarantee Kane and Toews would remain together come game time, but the move wouldn't be surprising. Quenneville has often resorted to combining Kane and Toews when the team's offense has struggled. The Hawks have scored one goal the past two games.
A line of Kane, Toews and Bickell helped ignite the Blackhawks in Game 5 of the Western Conference finals against the Los Angeles Kings. Kane scored a hat trick, and Toews had two assists in the Blackhawks' 4-3 double-overtime win on June 8.
Quenneville opted to separate Kane and Toews on lines in the first three games against the Bruins and also had them on different lines for a majority of the regular season. Toews and Kane each scored a team-leading 23 goals during the regular season.
"We had some success against L.A.," Toews said after Wednesday's morning skate. "Whatever the combinations are, we've got to find a way to score. We have confidence as a line, with Bicks and Kaner, we can make things happen. We were close last game. We didn't get on the score sheet. Obviously that's not good enough."
Kane, Toews and Bickell haven't had much individual success against the Bruins. They have combined for one assist in the first three games.
The numbers are a drastic drop from what especially Kane and Bickell had done in the playoffs prior to the Stanley Cup finals. Bickell had eight goals and five assists through the first three rounds, and Kane had six goals and eight assists.
Bickell remains positive about finding his own game again prior to Game 4.
"There's going to be times when the pucks are going in and there's times when it hasn't, but I just need to stick to my game plan every night," Bickell said. "When the puck is going in, I'm fortunate, but I just need to keep working hard.
"[Our line] worked good in the L.A. series. We had a couple goals -- [Kane] with his hat trick to finish up the series. Hopefully it sparks each other."
Toews has had three multi-point games in the playoffs this season, but he's been quiet for the most part on the offensive end in the playoffs. He has one goal and eight assists in 20 playoff games.
Toews said he feels a sense of urgency to step up and score in Game 4.
"Absolutely, every waking moment it's something you think about," Toews said. "Just got to be hungry. Just got to be that guy that this time of year you don't get denied. No excuses. Got to find a way. And obviously scoring a goal would be huge. Not just one. I'll take whatever I can get."