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Itchy trigger finger

Kane hasn't scored in nine games, but sharp-shooting left-winger firing plenty of bullets

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John Woods / the canadian press archives


John Woods / the canadian press archives

It was exactly the kind of moment in which every piece in Evander Kane's tool box -- the world-class wheels-meets-pure-power -- was packaged and showcased in a dramatic handful of seconds.

The Winnipeg Jets trailed the Calgary Flames 4-3 as the final ticks on the clock disappeared Monday night at MTS Centre. The Jets net was empty with Al Montoya pulled for the extra attacker when Kane took a pass from Blake Wheeler at the Calgary blue-line before beating a defender wide, jamming on the brakes and then firing a shot at netminder Reto Berra that was kicked out directly onto the stick of Bryan Little.

In a flash the game was tied as Little buried his team-leading 12th goal with 5.6 seconds remaining.

Now, that the Jets would manage only one point against one of the NHL's worst teams has been discussed and dissected already, just as has this fact -- even with the last-second dramatics, Kane's goal drought has now stretched to nine games.

Yes, as trade rumours continue to swirl -- heck, which NHL team wouldn't be intrigued by a 22-year-old former 30-goal man who already has 86 career markers in 282 games? -- Kane's game gets studied that much more intensely.

So allow us to do the same...

First, here are four cold, hard facts and why the drought is so significant:

1. Kane hasn't scored since the second period of a 2-1 shootout victory over the Dallas Stars on Oct. 26 and over that stretch the Jets are 5-5-1;

2. Even with his slump, Kane's six goals still ranks second on the Jets to Little, who has 12;

3. Kane, who had four game-winning goals last season, has just one this year -- in a 3-0 victory over New Jersey Oct. 13;

4. The Jets are now 6-5-3 in one-goal games and Kane has scored in only two of them -- both wins.

And now four quick theories as to why odds are Kane's goal drought will soon come to an end:

1. Kane had a game-high 10 shots on goal against the Flames with another three blocked and one that missed the net. He also posted a game-high eight hits, further evidence as to how engaged he was in the contest;

2. Kane has been streaky before -- just last season, for example, he went eight games without a goal (Jan. 29-Feb. 15) before cranking out six in his next six. In his 30-goal campaign of 2011-12, Kane went a stretch of 11 games without scoring.

3. His shot total of 91 ranks third in the NHL (heading into Tuesday's action) behind only Alex Ovechkin (110) and Zach Parise (92). And while the quality of chances can be debated, Olli Jokinen's innocent, throw-it-at-the-net marker against the Flames is proof it's better to be busy firing from all angles rather than be too timid to pull the trigger.

4. Kane has been productive working with a number of different centres during his days in Winnipeg -- predominantly Jokinen over the last season or so -- and is able to create chances seemingly regardless of who is in the middle or right side of his line.

The bottom line here is this, though: The Jets pay Kane a good chunk of change to be a difference-maker and being stuck on six goals since late October screams out for more. And it screams out for more ASAP. Twitter: @WFPEdTait

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition November 20, 2013 D3


Updated on Wednesday, November 20, 2013 at 9:20 AM CST: Adds missing text, removes fact box

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