Patrick Kane exploded for a hat trick Saturday as the Blackhawks won the Western Conference championship.
Kane drove home his third goal of the night Saturday as the Blackhawks captured the Western Conference championship. Game 5 took double-overtime, but Chicago sent the Los Angeles Kings packing with a 4-3 victory.
The 'Hawks' star wing had managed just three goals in the previous 16 playoff games. Equaling that total Saturday proved to be what got Chicago over the hump against a Kings squad that tied the game with nine seconds left in regulation.
The Blackhawks' top line had a huge impact on the final score, with Jonathan Toews and Bryan Bickell each logging two assists on the scoring plays. Toews and Bickell assisted on Kane's first period tally. Bickell set up Kane on what would have been the game-winner in regulation before the Kings tied it up.
Bickell prevented Slava Voynov from handling Anze Kopitar's ring-around attempt midway through the second extra frame. Toews gathered the puck, came up the left side and sent a perfect pass to Kane.
With Kane getting himself into position, the one-timer sailed past the glove of Jonathan Quick. As a result, the Blackhawks are in the Stanley Cup Final for the second time in four seasons.
Kane, who led Chicago in scoring in the regular season, had been less than prolific in the postseason. Since coach Joel Quenneville brought him up to skate with Toews and Bickell, he has four goals on 12 shots.
With the first game of the finals Wednesday night with Boston, it would seem that Quenneville will keep this line together. Bickell has been one of the 'Hawks' best playoff performers this spring. Toews has had trouble finding the net. However, if he can keep finding Kane for goals it hardly matters.
Chicago celebrates Saturday night. For Kane, who until Game 4 was suffering from a bit of a scoring drought, the hat trick must feel extra sweet.