Analysis

Five Thoughts: Patrick Kane leads Chicago Blackhawks past Buffalo Sabres

By Juliana Nikac
BUFFALO, NY - FEBRUARY 1: Patrick Kane #88 and Cam Ward #30 of the Chicago Blackhawks celebrate a 7-3 victory over the Buffalo Sabres after an NHL game on February 1, 2019 at KeyBank Center in Buffalo, New York. (Photo by Joe Hrycych/NHLI via Getty Images)
BUFFALO, NY - FEBRUARY 1: Patrick Kane #88 and Cam Ward #30 of the Chicago Blackhawks celebrate a 7-3 victory over the Buffalo Sabres after an NHL game on February 1, 2019 at KeyBank Center in Buffalo, New York. (Photo by Joe Hrycych/NHLI via Getty Images) /
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BUFFALO, NY – FEBRUARY 1: Brandon Saad #20 of the Chicago Blackhawks talks to Zach Bogosian #4 of the Buffalo Sabres during an NHL game on February 1, 2019 at KeyBank Center in Buffalo, New York. (Photo by Bill Wippert/NHLI via Getty Images)
BUFFALO, NY – FEBRUARY 1: Brandon Saad #20 of the Chicago Blackhawks talks to Zach Bogosian #4 of the Buffalo Sabres during an NHL game on February 1, 2019 at KeyBank Center in Buffalo, New York. (Photo by Bill Wippert/NHLI via Getty Images) /

4 – Third line dominates

The third line of Brandon Saad, Marcus Kruger, and Dominik Kahun had a fantastic game, despite not getting much attention. These three dominated when on the ice together, driving possession and playing the majority of their time in the offensive zone.

At 5-on-5, they had 69.23% Corsi-for and only faced two scoring chances while facing no high-danger scoring chances. Individually, the trio had the top three Corsi-for percentage among all skaters for the Chicago Blackhawks.

Their superior play and great puck possession translated on the scoresheet. Saad scored two goals and now has five goals in his last five games. Kruger and Kampf each had an assist on Saad’s first goal. They’ve only been a line for three games, but I love how they’ve worked together.

5 – Ward does his job

Cam Ward has had a rough go this season. Some nights he’s terrible and can’t stop a puck to save his life. Other nights he plays out of his mind and keeps the Chicago Blackhawks in games they shouldn’t be in. Tonight, Ward was good enough to let the team’s offense carry them to a 7-3 victory.

Ward faced 43 shots tonight and stopped 40 of them while the Blackhawks’ took advantage of the Sabres’ issues on defense and in net. In his last two games, Ward has faced 79 shots and stopped 74 of them. Is that great? Not necessarily. But if the Blackhawks can do what they’ve done recently and score their way to victories, all the goaltender has to do is be average. That’s what Ward did tonight.

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With three wins in a row, the Chicago Blackhawks are among the bottom five teams in the league and have 47 points in 52 games (19-24-9). They are now on pace to finish the season with 74 points.

The Blackhawks will be in Minnesota to face the Wild tomorrow on NBC at 7 p.m. central. The Wild are currently in the first wildcard spot and are 5-5-0 in their last 10 games. Let’s see if Chicago can continue their winning streak and if Patrick Kane can keep up his fantastic play.

As always, Let’s Go ‘Hawks. Now: Patrick Kane for the Hart Trophy.

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