BOSTON – Patrick Kane didn't have to score the Stanley Cup-winning goal this time to earn the Conn Smythe Trophy. His performance throughout the playoffs, and especially the final, did the trick.
Kane, whose overtime goal in 2010 gave the Blackhawks their first championship since 1961, led Chicago in scoring in the 2013 playoffs. He finished with 19 points on nine goals and 10 assists, including nine points in his final 10 games.
“It's much deserved,” said captain Jonathan Toews, who won the Conn Smythe three years ago. “There's a lot of guys in that room that could have won that. I don't think there's anyone better than him. They way he played down the stretch, we wouldn't be here without him. He's a hell of a player. I'm very happy for him.”
Kane joked that goaltender Corey Crawford (1.84 goals-against average and .932 save percentage) was snubbed. Cases also could have been made for left-winger Patrick Sharp and Boston Bruins goaltender Tuukka Rask.
But Kane was one of the Blackhawks' major catalysts, especially once coach Joel Quenneville reunited with Toews and Bryan Bickell on Chicago's No. 1 line.
“I think it speaks more for my team than myself, personally,” Kane said. “Playing with great players, it was the best year of my life just playing with these guys.”
Kane scored twice in Game 5 to put the Blackhawks on the verge of their second title in four years and was on the ice for two more goals in Monday's Game 6 clincher at TD Garden. Nothing about those performances surprised Dale Hunter, who coached Kane with the Ontario Hockey League's London Knights in 2006-07.
Hunter recalled on Monday when his brother and Knights general manager, Mark, called Kane into his office 10 games into a season that began with six or seven goals and a few assists.
“(Mark) said, 'OK, Pat, you're playing outstanding and adjusting to junior-A fine, and you're doing really good,'” Dale Hunter said. “(Kane) goes, 'No, no, you haven't seen me yet. I'm better than that.'”
It's hard to see Kane playing any better than he did in this Cup final and in parts of these playoffs. He had a hat trick, including the overtime winner, to send Chicago past the Los Angeles Kings in the Western Conference final.
“When he's playing with the puck, he's so dynamic and skilled and fun to watch,” Sharp said. “Sometimes we watch him a little bit too much. But he's a great player and once he started to get it into gear he was going to be lights out. He was lights out in this series and the last couple games against L.A.”
Being lights out, Kane said, had a lot to do with his teammates and linemates.
“We actually came up with a name for myself this morning, calling me the 'Benefish,' for the beneficiary of all their hard work,” Kane said. “I had a couple chances to finish and ended up doing that, so got to give them the credit.
“It ended up working out.”