How Far Can Chicago Blackhawks Go With Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane Slumping?

Tommy Giglio-USA TODAY Sports

Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane were at the forefront of the Chicago Blackhawks‘ magical regular season as the two franchise cornerstones had magnificent regular seasons. The two young studs were the Blackhawks’ most consistent players as Chicago ran away with the Western Conference, and ultimately the Presidents Trophy.

However, despite the Hawks being up 2-0 in the Western Conference Finals, what has happened to Toews and Kane’s scoring touch?

It’s a fair question to ask, as Toews has struggled mightily throughout the playoffs after a stellar regular season. He finished the regular season tied for fifth in goals with 23 and tied for 13th in points with 48 points in 47 games. He also finished third in the league with a plus-28 rating.

However, Toews has just one goal, six assists and is a minus-1 through 14 playoff games. His only goal came on the power play, and he is being outscored by the likes of Michal Handzus, Andrew Shaw and Bryan Bickell.

Maybe even more surprising has been Toews losing his cool on numerous occasions. He has been dubbed “Captain Serious” by his teammates due to his calm and serious demeanor, but he hasn’t lived up to that nickname through 14 playoff games. The job Henrik Zetterberg did frustrating Toews in the second round was eye-opening, as it was the first time the young superstar habitually lost his cool.

Kane, meanwhile, hasn’t had the epic struggles Toews has had, but is also leaving much more to be desired after his own monster regular season. He tied for fifth in the league with Toews with 23 regular season goals, while finishing fifth in the league with 55 points.

However, since the playoffs started, Kane hasn’t been the same electrifying player he was during the Hawks’ banner regular season.

He has just two goals, both coming in losses in the second round to the Detroit Red Wings. Kane’s 10 postseason points rank tied for 15th in the league, as the slick winger hasn’t been nearly as dangerous in the playoffs.

The good news for the Blackhawks is that just about every other player on the team is picking up the slack left by their two young stars.

The aforementioned Bickell and Shaw are having breakout postseasons. Perennial playoff choker Marian Hossa is actually showing up this postseason with 13 points in 14 games, while Patrick Sharp has 14 points including an NHL-high eight postseason goals.

The defense is also picking up the offensive slack as Duncan Keith has 10 points in 14 games, while Brent Seabrook has also scored some huge goals.

The big question is can the Hawks continue to win despite meager contributions from Toews and Kane? For this round, at least it seems like the Hawks can get two more wins against a banged-up Los Angeles Kings team that appears to be running out of gas after a couple of deep postseason runs.

However, can the Hawks defeat a Pittsburgh Penguins team led by offensive studs like Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, James Neal, Jarome Iginla and Kris Letang without Toews and Kane stepping up? Can the Hawks defeat a physical Boston Bruins team that is getting major offensive contributions from David Krejci, Nathan Horton, Milan Lucic, Zdeno Chara and Brad Marchand if Toews and Kane continue to struggle?

The answer is almost assuredly no. If the Hawks are to finish off the Kings and take down either Pittsburgh or Boston, they will need all hands on deck, especially the gifted hands belonging to Toews and Kane.

 

Follow James on Twitter @JT3sticks

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