The Chicago Blackhawks beat the Anaheim Ducks 3-1. It was a huge win for Chicago and, as always, it left a lot to be learned. Here are my five thoughts on tonight’s contest.
No. 1: Brandon Saad answered the wakeup call… for now, anyway.
Chicago Blackhawks forward Brandon Saad previously skated in both a third and fourth line role over the past handful of games. What’s worse, he skated in the white, healthy-scratch jersey during practice leading up to his fourth line demotion.
I’m not sure if this lit a spark under him, served as a wake-up call or had any real positive impact, but Brandon Saad has actually looked like Brandon Saad over the past two games.
He played very well in Sunday night’s game in which he was slotted in alongside Chris Kunitz and David Kampf.
More from Blackhawk Up
- Blackhawks: Grading Connor Murphy and a position comparison
- Blackhawks: Shuffling the lines to try and spark offense at 5 on 5
- These Lineup Changes could Solve the Blackhawks’ Scoring Problem
- Blackhawks: List Of Things To Be Thankful For This Thanksgiving
- The perfect holiday gifts for the Chicago Blackhawks fan
Tonight, though, Saad was moved up to the second line alongside Patrick Kane and Artem Anisimov.
This line didn’t look as pretty as it does when Schmaltz is skating on it, however it was still effective and allowed for the Hawks to take a more balanced approach to the game.
Additionally, it adds some defense to a line which previously had very little between Schmaltz and Kane.
Saad looked good tonight and it was great to finally see him find the scoresheet. Kane echoed that in his postgame speech, saying, “Good to see him get one the board. He was buzzing all night.”
During a Blackhawks power play, Saad planted himself in front of the net and used his big body as a screen on goaltender John Gibson.
Saad didn’t score on his first shot, but he stayed with his rebound and put away the “loose candy” for his first goal of the season.
While it’s great seeing him finally reach the scoresheet, I was impressed with his game as a whole tonight, too. Saad skated hard and frequently won the race to pucks.
Additionally, he played very well defensively. So much so, that his defensive efforts resulted in an empty netter which ultimately sealed the deal for the Chicago Blackhawks. It was Saad’s second of the year.
If this type of play continues Saad might be seeing more time in that second line role.