LOS ANGELES (AP) — Evander Kane is completely happy to be making headlines for his on-ice play as a substitute of off-ice controversies.
Edmonton’s enigmatic ahead has an NHL-best 5 targets up to now two video games of the Western Conference first-round collection towards Los Angeles. Kane had his first hat trick in a Stanley Cup playoff recreation on Friday night time because the Oilers clobbered the Kings 8-2.
“There’s been a lot of trials and tribulations, and it’s nice to turn the page and start to move forward in a positive way,” Kane stated.
Last summer time, Kane’s ex-wife Anna accused him of playing on video games, together with some towards the San Jose Sharks whereas he was enjoying. There had been additionally allegations of sexual and bodily abuse.
NHL investigations discovered no proof that Kane gambled on video games and stated the home violence allegations “could not be substantiated.”
In mid-October, Kane ran afoul of the league when he obtained a 21-game suspension for submitting a faux COVID-19 vaccination card. When the suspension ended, the Sharks positioned him on waivers and despatched him to the AHL when he was unclaimed.
Kane performed 5 video games for the AHL’s San Jose Barracuda earlier than being positioned within the league’s COVID-19 protocols on Dec. 22. The Sharks launched him on Jan. 8 for violating protocols and terminated the rest of his $49 million, seven-year contract.
“The beginning of the year was very tough with a lot of different things going on in my life. It’s a real credit to my family for helping me through everything,” Kane stated.
Friday’s hat trick was additionally vital to Kane as a result of he needed to play a giant recreation for somebody from his household. His uncle, Leonard Kane, is within the hospital with an undisclosed sickness.
Kane signed with Edmonton on Jan. 28. While the Oilers welcomed him with open arms, Kane stated it took a while to get his recreation again on observe and modify to enjoying on the identical line with two-time league MVP Connor McDavid.
“It probably took me 10 to 15 games to get comfortable again and get my legs back. Playing with Connor for the first time, it was going to take a little bit to build some chemistry,” Kane stated. “We’ve done a great job of building that and continuing to grow that as we move forward.”
Kane posted 39 factors in 43 regular-season video games with the Oilers (22 targets, 17 assists) however has been enjoying his greatest over the previous month. He had six targets and 4 assists within the last eight video games earlier than the playoffs, together with a hat trick in an Apr. 26 win at Pittsburgh that wrapped up dwelling ice within the first spherical.
Besides his scoring potential, Kane was second amongst Edmonton forwards with 135 hits and fourth in common ice time (19:27).
While Kane has taken successful along with his off-ice incidents and repute for being a troublesome teammate at prior stops, Edmonton coach Jay Woodcroft has not seen that. He famous Kane has been a great teammate and enhances a lineup that has come into its personal late within the season.
“He has really good habits,” Woodcroft stated. “He goes to hard areas, and he stops. He doesn’t fly by confrontation. He’s physical. He invests on other teams’ defense corps. He’s a big part of why we’re at where we’re at.”
McDavid, who advocated for Kane’s signing, has been completely happy to have one other ahead who can end across the internet.
“He finds a way to put it in the back of the net. He’s hard on the forecheck, and he seems to be in the right spot at the right time,” McDavid stated.
The Oilers have a 2-1 lead within the best-of-seven collection and look to proceed their momentum Sunday night time in Game 4. Los Angeles received the primary recreation 4-3, however Edmonton has dominated the final two, outscoring the Kings 14-2.
“I don’t think we look at it as 14-2. I think we’re looking at it as we’re up 2-1 in this series with a really important game on Sunday,” Kane stated. “I think there’s still room for our game to improve. I think we could have better starts. I don’t think we’ve had a great start in any of the three games throughout this series, but we’ve stuck with it. And we’re just continuing to build our game.”
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