Some have suggested that, when examined in the cold hard light of arithmetic, Patrick Kane is nothing special. If you look at how he affects his linemates’ possession metrics, he is revealed for what he truly is: a scion of the eye test. Patrick Kane shines in the mind’s eye, his exploits better suited for hockey’s  chansons de geste than for the slogging accumulation of shot attempts at the commodified game’s industrial heart.

Last night, in the second period, Patrick Kane exposed the limit of this kind of thinking. He’s done this before – a certain playoff hat-trick comes to mind – but last night’s coup de grace was more poignant for its utter banality. Three points is three points, even for two teams firmly assured of playoff berths, but the contest lacked any utilitarian drama. What interest attended the game came only from larger metaphysical questions. Not that we’re supposed to care about these things anymore. Just rack up the points, shift-by-shift and possession-by-possession. Until, that is, Patrick Kane receives a pass from Patrick Sharp and cracks the game open in an instant.

There is no point describing the interval, reducing the moment to a set of actions that anyone, reading them after the fact, could convince themselves lay within their grasp. They do not. Because Patrick Kane is beautiful.

He is not pretty. He is not a physical presence. He is an aesthetic moment on the ice. And Anaheim possesses no counter.

That was the answer to Anaheim’s pre-game pondering. Can they compete against the league’s elite? The Blackhawks are not pretenders. This core has won the Cup twice, in campaigns demanding a tithe from every account, tangible and intangible. Just last year they skated within one bad bounce of returning to the Final in a series that promptly etched itself in folklore.

And what of the metrics for that? Who cares. They are legend. They are beautiful.

And the Ducks? After last night, a certain thought must be gaining volume. They are losers.