Patrick Kane batted at the puck at the goal line, a puck that was probably going in anyway on the strength of Bryan Bickell’s shot. But better to be safe.

“I told Bicks I was sorry I stole it from him. It might’ve gone in,” Kane said with a laugh. “But when you see the puck there it’s instinctive to stick your stick in and touch it. But it was a big goal nonetheless.”

And as odd as it sounds, Kane needed that goal more than Bickell did.

Kane’s second-period goal tied the game at the time for the Chicago Blackhawks, who went on to beat the Los Angeles Kings 3-2 and to take a 3-1 lead in the Western Conference Final. But for Kane, it was almost a kind of exhale moment. He’s been struggling, and that goal snapped a seven-game skid without one. It was also one of several signs that Kane was getting closer to being Kane again.

“Kaner wanted the puck, he had it early and had it a lot,” coach Joel Quenneville said. “He was dangerous off the rush and took shots through screens. It was nice to see him score as well.”

Kane looked like he was playing more his style Thursday night. He did have the puck a lot, he was more noticeable and he was shooting just about every time he got a chance. He finished with seven shots on goal, easily the most of anyone on either team. The right wing said yesterday that patience was fine, but he was too much so lately. On Thursday, he was more take-charge.