SAN JOSE -- Evander Kane's worst stretch of the season was followed by an excellent one. The talented forward recorded six points in the first three games of this Sharks homestand, with three goals and three assists, including on Logan Couture's decisive overtime score against New Jersey.
It should come as no shock the Sharks won each time. Kane's points streak ended during Thursday's 3-2 loss to the Minnesota Wild at SAP Center, but he still generated opportunities that didn't find the net. That included a late third-period laser beam that would've tied it, if not for a glove save.
Kane's recent quality could constitute an about-face. Kane served a three-game suspension for a hit seemingly unworthy of such punishment and was benched by interim head coach Bob Boughner at Madison Square Garden in his return to action.
He was generating chances after that, but couldn't find the net during a miserable, winless Sharks road trip where Brenden Dillon, Patrick Marleau and Barclay Goodrow all were traded before the deadline.
Then Kane came home and got red hot. The 28-year oldwas quick to caution against links between riding pine and this points surge. Getting benched didn't inspire better play. There was something larger at play, a team-wide mentality shift that led to better performances following an awful East Coast swing.
"I think it's easy to look at that as a turning point for me. Honestly, it really wasn't," Kane said Thursday morning, before the Sharks lost to Minnesota. "Do I agree with what transpired in New York? No. But there's no disputing that we didn't win a game on that trip. That was rough.
"That was the important realization, that we had to alter our attitudes and our mindset as an entire group or it would be a long ride to the finish. I think we came back stronger. We obviously didn't have a great start against New Jersey, but we finished well and that was huge. When you play top teams, you have to bring it or you're going to get a-- kicked. Showing well against Pittsburgh and Toronto illustrated that we were playing the right way, and we have to continue doing that."
Thursday's loss wasn't a setback in that regard. While there were moments of lackluster play, the Sharks worked hard through the final buzzer but couldn't secure an equalizer despite a 20-3 shot advantage in the third period.
Kane has played well on this homestand. So has Joe Thornton, and captain Logan Couture upon return from injury. Brent Burns was the Sharks' player of the month. Goalkeeper Martin Jones has picked it up of late -- he'd certainly like another shot at Thursday's first Wild goal -- as the veteran stars try to finish strong while working with several young prospects.
"When your top players are going well the team usually has success," Kane said. "I think we've been through a lot this year. We were so used to [fired head coach Pete DeBoer and Steve Spott and other departed assistants] being here, and I think there was a lengthy adjustment period to this new group here and them kind of figuring it out a little bit. I think, as players we've kind of had enough and have taken it upon ourselves to push to have a strong finish.
"I mean, like I've said, we're still the San Jose Sharks. We are still a top team. We didn't have the year we wanted but we want to use these last  games to remind ourselves of that as well and build some confidence going into next season."
Kane is driven to push for goals, and despite a lackluster season for the team and some individual lowlights -- including two three-game suspensions -- the forward is just six goals from 30. That's his career-high, which can be matched before the season's out.
"It's always nice to reach that number," Kane said. "There aren't many guys who get to 30, but that's not the ultimate goal. If I get to 30, then I want to get to 40. I just want to keep scoring and helping my team win. We've had problems scoring this year for whatever reason. Our [2.6] goals per game average is relatively low. Last year, it was the opposite [at 3.50]. It has been a little different, and that has been a reason why we haven't been winning games. I'm trying to score as much as I can because that helps the team win."
Kane is capable of helping the Sharks surge. He was awesome in November, with eight points in seven games to start the month and 12 over the 30-day span. The Sharks were 11-4 during their best stretch of the season, but couldn't sustain such play over a long haul.
Another run like that probably won't produce an identical record considering all the injuries and trades that have transpired since, but Kane hopes to finish the string on a high note individually and as part of the Sharks collective.
"It's definitely nice to put the puck in the net consistently," Kane said. "The more you play like this the better you feel. When you're getting touches and assists and getting involved on scoring chances that goes a long way. It builds positive momentum you feel like you can sustain. Ultimately though, it's all about finishing. I look back at that road trip and feel like I could've had six goals.
"I had great chances in the Islanders game. I had a few breakaways against the Rangers where I didn't find the net. But if you continue to generate chances good things will come from it. You can't get frustrated. You have to keep working and keep pushing to create. I feel like I have been creating for the last six or seven games. Now the puck's starting go in. That's a good thing."
Sharks' Evander Kane reveals what caused his recent production spike originally appeared on NBC Sports Bay Area