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Game Preview/Lines #53: Kane Has Been Sharks’ “Best Player, Night In, Night Out”



San Jose Sharks, Evander Kane
Credit: NBCS Bay Area

San Jose Sharks

Colorado Avalanche

Alex Newhook to make Colorado Avalanche debut tonight

This is how the Colorado Avalanche lined up on Monday:

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Morning Skate

With two goals on Monday, and just four games remaining, Evander Kane’s longest goal-scoring slump this season will be just five contests, a career best.

I wrote about his longest in-season droughts a couple weeks ago – the winger has had a penchant for prolonged scoring slumps:

2020-21: Longest slump is 5 games without a goal
2019-20: 8 games
2018-19: 11 games
2017-18: 14 games
2016-17: 12 games
2015-16: 9 games
2014-15: 6 games
2013-14: 11 games
2012-13: 8 games
2011-12: 11 games
2010-11: 8 games
2009-10: 12 games

“A lot of young guys coming in this year, us veteran guys are going to be relied on to score and lead the way offensively,” Kane noted. “That’s my job.”

The winger has more than done that, leading all Sharks with 22 goals and 23 assists.

Bob Boughner has been impressed by the whole package, not just the scoring: “Evander’s been one of the highlights of our team this year. He’s been probably our best player, night in, night out. He’s used in all situations.”

Kane leads all San Jose forwards with 20:13 Time on Ice Per Game and 2:44 Power Play TOI/Game. He’s fourth in Short-Handed TOI/Game with 1:47.

Just as impressive as Kane’s production and deployment this year is his discipline, a possible evolution in his overall game. Since Feb. 15, the 29-year-old has been called for just six minor penalties, less than nine San Jose Sharks teammates, including Tomas Hertl, Logan Couture, and Erik Karlsson – and a lot less than league leader Brad Marchand’s 21.

It was mid-February when Boughner and Kane had a chat about the star winger staying out of the box. It looks like Kane got the message.

“If anything, he’s held himself more accountable,” Boughner offered. “To his game, No. 1, and being that most consistent player on every night.”

Since mid-February, Kane has rung up 18 goals, easily pacing the Sharks. Hertl and Couture trail with 11. So he’s been productive, kept his edge, and stayed out of box. That’s noteworthy for a player who led the NHL in both minor penalties and penalty minutes from 2017-20.

“He’s worked on being more disciplined and not spending so much time in the penalty box. That was a problem, not just at the beginning of the year, but in the last couple years,” Boughner said. “When he’s got a chance to finish hits, he’s doing that. He’s been in some situations on the ice where someone’s taken a liberty, he’s grabbed someone. There’s not a lot of guys signing up for Evander.”

The San Jose Sharks head coach has also been impressed by Kane staying focused amidst a public bankruptcy and multiple lawsuits.

“We know he’s going through stuff in his personal life. His ability to come here and focus and get the job done and be one of our best players every night is pretty remarkable,” Boughner said. “I have a lot of good things to say about Evander not only a player, but as a teammate this year. I think that he’s come full circle.”

He elaborated: “I think he’s a guy that comes to the rink everyday and brings life to the room. That’s a good thing. He’s been, for me, not one single issue.

“He’s a guy that’s just comes to work. He’s been serious. I think his practice habits have gotten better. It’s something that we talked about at the beginning of the season, making sure that in practice, we’re doing the right things for whatever time we’re out there.

“I’ve also seen him helping young guys out, whether it be on the bench in between shifts or in a team meeting. He’s been good in all those departments.”

Around the NHL

Kane has had a good year on the ice, but a bad year off of it. His legal troubles continue as Professional Bank in Florida is now suing him.

Seemingly out of nowhere, the Rangers have fired president John Davidson and GM Jeff Gorton. This comes on the heels of New York’s attack on the NHL for the league’s handling of the Tom Wilson powder keg.

All eyes will be on Madison Square Garden tonight as the Rangers and Capitals match up again.

Tom Wilson Fallout; Rangers Rip DoPS Parros as ‘Unfit,’ Call for Removal

Shayne Gostisbehere suspended two games for boarding Mark Friedman

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Sound Tigers No More? Islanders AHL Affiliate Hints at Name Change

Robin Lehner, Golden Knights Blow Late Lead in Minnesota Loss

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