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Blackhawks trying to avoid sweep by Predators


Nashville, Tenn. — Throughout his nine seasons in the NHL, Patrick Kane has seen the Blackhawks put themselves in just about every conceivable situation — good, bad and everything in between.

In falling behind the Predators 3-0 in the best-of-seven Western Conference quarterfinals, Kane said the Hawks are close to rock bottom.

“The desperation level is at an all-time high, no doubt about it,” Kane said after the Hawks’ practice tonight in Nashville, Tenn.

Desperate times call for desperate measures and in the Stanley Cup playoffs that means the reigning Hart Trophy winner is expected to raise his game.

“You need your best players this time of year to step up and be your best players,” Kane said. “Throughout the playoffs, you kind of see some depth guys ... step up and have big games, but at times like this it’s the top guys who probably need to lead the charge.”

There’s no probably about it: The Hawks need Kane to unleash his inner “Showtime” and take over Game 4 on Thursday night at Bridgestone Arena — and beyond.

In Game 3 on Monday night, Kane began to take control and had the puck on his stick far more often than in the opening two games of the series.

“I started to demand the puck a little bit more and I think that’s something as the series goes on you want to do it even more,” said Kane, who cashed in with his first goal of the postseason when he scored on the power play.

“Try to get the puck as much as possible, try to make good plays and hopefully things can (be created). Try to be a good teammate, try to play a good team game, as well.”

Kane said it’s important he play with confidence and play well defensively.

Coach Joel Quenneville will give Kane every opportunity to work his magic in Game 4. Already averaging 23 minutes, 59 seconds of ice time during the series — second only to defenseman Duncan Keith’s 26:32 — Kane may see even more playing time.

“Kane wants to be out there and he wants the puck. He makes guys around him better and he’s a threat for the opponents as far as matchups and how he can penetrate the zone with possession,” Quenneville said. “There are a lot of things that go into his game that are concerning for (the Predators).”

Quenneville has not hesitated to double-shift Kane and certainly won’t in Game 5.

“I look at Kane when he comes to the bench (and) I’m thinking if he goes every other shift, he’s fine,” Quenneville said.