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Rangers Won’t Go Far in Playoffs With This Timid Version of Kane

Patrick Kane New York Rangers

New York Rangers forward Patrick Kane bore down on goaltender Tristan Jarry, the three-time Stanley Cup winner and future Hall of Famer having what looked like a clear path to a golden scoring opportunity, with the lone Pittsburgh Penguins defender back shaded toward Kane’s teammate Chris Kreider on a 2-on-1 break.

Yet Kane, he of the 449 career goals, elected not to shoot, instead forcing a cross-ice pass to Kreider, who was fading away from the net and whose ensuing shot was stopped rather easily by Jarry, who had ample time to react and get across the crease.

Rangers forward Patrick Kane (Photo by Jared Silber/NHLI via Getty Images)

The Rangers went on to win the March 16 game anyway despite Kane’s failure to convert the late second-period chance, defeating the Penguins 4-2 to move to 4-0-1 in their last five and further solidify their hold on third place in the Metropolitan Division.

Things are hardly perfect for the Blueshirts, though. Among the concerns surrounding a team trying to mesh with a remade roster is the sense that seven games into his Rangers tenure, Kane is still struggling to find his place, perhaps predictably having trouble adjusting to playing for a club other than the Chicago Blackhawks for the first time in his 16-year career.

Kane’s Disposition Speaks Volumes About His Comfort Level

There’s been some production, with three goals and two assists as a Ranger. Yet the evidence is more compelling that Kane is desperately trying to fit in with a new group – something he’s never had to do in the NHL, and under the white-hot media spotlight of New York in the midst of a playoff race.

It’s not just the passing up of what appeared to be an obvious shooting opportunity against Pittsburgh. Kane has seemed largely reserved and unemotional on the ice, the uncertainty all but painted on his face.

The 34-year-old delivered an emphatic fist pump when he scored his first goal as a Ranger on March 9 against the Montreal Canadiens, and he reacted similarly after his other two tallies in a Blueshirt. Yet when Kreider banged in what turned out to be the winning goal from in front midway through the third against the Penguins, celebrating with his trademark yell, Kane gave him a simple stick tap, his expression again passive and devoid of emotion.

Chris Kreider New York Rangers
Rangers forward Chris Kreider celebrates a goal (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

In short, Kane’s body language since arriving in Gotham has conveyed an obvious sense of discomfort, his withdrawn…

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