NEW YORK -- There have been flashes before, but nothing quite as bright or as sustained as this.
Evander Kane is playing arguably the best hockey of his young career right now and the Winnipeg Jets are loving every minute of work from their star forward. Already into his fourth season at age 21, Kane extended his point streak to eight games in Tuesday's 4-3 win over the New York Rangers by scoring twice and adding an assist under the bright lights of The Big Apple.
Kane now has nine goals and nine assists in 19 games for the Jets and has taken over the club's scoring lead.
"He had streaks last year where he was going good. He's going good now," said Jets coach Claude Noel. "He's in a pretty good place now. He pushes that threshold of continuing to succeed. He's got a streak going and it drives him. You can see his minutes are up, he's skating well... you watch, the more he gets into the game the more he skates the more he seems to be dangerous.
"It might be the best I've seen him play. I mean, he's shooting the puck so well. You've got to shoot when you've got bullets like he has."
During his point streak, the longest active one in the NHL right now, Kane has scored six goals and added four assists. He's using his speed effectively, but continues to bash and crash to add a physical element, got into a scrap on this trip and has been productive working with any number of linemates.
"I've been feeling good the last 10-12 games," Kane said. "The legs are there right now. Sometimes it takes a little time to get readjusted when you've been off so long. But I feel good."
Not only is Kane rolling right now but, apparently, he offered up some prophetic words prior to the team leaving on this road trip.
"I said it in the shower after we lost that three at home," Kane offered with a grin. "I said we have to win five in a row. So we'll take four of them on the road, for sure.
"We're showing a lot of urgency and a lot of desperation since Game 1 of this road trip. We knew that this wasn't necessarily make or break, but it was a very important road trip for us to continue to give ourselves a chance to make the playoffs. We did a great job of that. We got off to good starts in getting the first goal in a lot of games and we're able to close games out in the third period for the most part."
QUOTABLE: This from Olli Jokinen, asked if he was jacked up to play against his old team (the Rangers are one of six ex-teams along with the Kings, Islanders, Panthers, Coyotes and Flames):
"Not really. There's so many old teams for me. For me, I get pretty excited to play this game. I love this game and it doesn't really matter who you play against. If you don't get excited to play in the National Hockey League, then you're in the wrong league."
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