Patrick Kane got the puck in the slot and tried to get off a quick shot, only to have his stick lifted by a Wild defenseman. With four Minnesota players zeroing in on him, and Wild goalie Josh Harding focused on him, Kane quickly spun to his right and fired a perfect pass to Patrick Sharp, left all alone in the corner. Sharp easily smacked the puck into the gaping net. That goal all but sealed the Blackhawks' Game 2 victory, and was the quintessential Kane.
He didn't always, though. Kane said Saturday that when he was a kid, 11 or 12, he rarely passed the puck, instead preferring to take the puck down the ice and try to finish it off himself.
"I finally ran into a coach that said you're going to have to pass the puck or you're going to sit on the bench," Kane said. "I remember I went down the full length of the ice, scored a goal, and I sat on the bench for the rest of the period. From that moment on, I just tried to improve my vision and my passing ability, and that's probably where it came from. A lot of practice, too."
Kane's playmaking ability has always been otherworldly, but it's reached new levels this season -- from his seeing-eye passes to his spin-o-rama goal in Detroit to his incredible stickhandling in shootouts.
"He's got the hands to stick-handle his way out of a phone booth," Bryan Bickell said. "He pulls things I can only dream about in games. I try to do them in practice, but usually I just embarrass myself."
And while the Hawks talked a lot about getting ugly goals against the defenisve-minded Wild, Kane wasn't shy about admitting he prefers being a bit of a showman out there -- both as a scorer and a passer.
"As players, you always want to show your skill and your ability to create," he said. "I think that's what the fans like, they like pretty plays like that. Sometimes it's nice to do those things."
NOTEWORTHY: Center Dave Bolland (groin) and goaltender Ray Emery (lower-body) were both ruled out for Game 3 by coach Joel Quenneville, though they did make the trip to Minnesota.