Chicago Blackhawks forward Patrick Kane is smoking hot right now. Credit maturity, skating in Europe during the lockout or sunspots. The bottom line is Kane is lighting up opposing nets in the first quarter of the 2013 season.
As a result, Kane is a huge factor in the 'Hawks sitting atop the NHL even after playing just twice at home through 11 games.
Kane displayed his hot hand for the Chicago fans who showed up at Jobing.com Arena Thursday night in the Blackhawks' 6-2 win over Phoenix. Kane put up a three-point effort in the first period to aid Chicago in taking a death grip on the contest early.
Kane tallied a pair of power-play goals and also set up Dave Bolland's goal. The assist came off a play where he took a pass from Patrick Sharp, drew two defenders and hit Bolland as he came streaking up the middle of the ice.
Kane has posted points in all but one of Chicago's games so far. He is in the midst of a six-goal run over the last four games. Thursday was his second two-goal effort of the season, the first coming Tuesday in the 'Hawks 5-3 win in San Jose.
One of those goals was an empty-netter and both power-play goals Thursday came with Chicago owning 5-on-3 advantages on a night where the Coyotes couldn't stay out of the box. However, Kane is attacking the net and creating scoring opportunities for himself and his teammates.
Kane's eight goals and 10 assists place him among the elite NHL scorers in the early stages of the season. He currently sits second in points and third in goals.
Here's a ridiculous stat: With 18 points in just 11 games, Kane is on pace to best his point totals in each of the past two full regular seasons.
That pace is not going to hold up, but the 24-year-old Kane may be having the breakout season suggested by his 88-point 2009-10 campaign. Of course, that year saw the Blackhawks hoist the Stanley Cup.
Right now, Chicago looks down on the rest of the league with 20 points. They have earned eight of those points in the first five games of a six-game trek. The road trip winds up in Nashville, Sunday. The Predators are currently second in the Central Division, seven points behind Chicago.
The Blackhawks have been the hottest team in the league to open the shortened season. Kane and his hot start have definitely been a big part of his team's success.