EDMONTON – It’s a rare place for him to be in his outstanding National Hockey League career. Yet here he is, back again in an unfamiliar role.
Most times Patrick Kane was playing on Blackhawks’ teams that were favorites in a series or at least evenly matched. With the strength of the teams in the 2010s, you could say the Vancouver or Detroit series in 2009 might be as close to a playoff underdog that a team the forward has been on in Chicago.
But for the second time in as many weeks, Kane finds himself on a team that’s looking for the upset, as the eighth-seeded Blackhawks take on the top-seeded Golden Knights in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Playoffs first round series on Tuesday.
“People in the media and so-called hockey experts were probably picking Edmonton as well,” said Kane, but the team helped prove them wrong.
As the last seed in the Western Conference in the overall tournament, the Blackhawks knocked off the fifth-seed Oilers in four games, clinching their first postseason series win since the 2015 Stanley Cup Final.
“We kinda felt like the underdog in that series,” said Kane. ” It’s a cool role to play. It’s exciting for our team when everyone’s counting you out and not really giving you a chance.”
Many will be doing the same as the Blackhawks enter the series with the Golden Knights. They won all three round robin games to the take the No. 1 seed in the Western Conference and are in a good position to make another run at a first Stanley Cup title.
Yet the Blackhawks have their own momentum too, having bested the Oilers with the production of experienced veterans and younger players. Jonathan Toews has seven points in the series along with the assist on the series-clinching goal by Dominik Kubalik in Game 4 Friday.
Corey Crawford’s 43 saves were reminiscent of his best days, and came two weeks after returning to the team after a bout with COVID-19. Maybe that’s why Colliton’s not letting the Blackhawks get satisfied with their first upset of 2020.
“We’re not done,” said Colliton. “Just because you win a series, it doesn’t mean that it’s over and we’re happy. We played hard for four games and we got rewarded for it. You enjoy that, but there’s no satisfaction.”
Because the chance to play underdog is only a day away.