Brandon Saad, Blackhawks Escape With Another Win

It wasn’t pretty, but a goal from Brandon Saad with 27 seconds left in the third period gave the Blackhawks their fifth straight win.

Ben Smith MTL

In the first period, it was some of the unusual suspects picking up the offense for the Hawks. Michal Rozsival jumped into the rush and converted a nice pass from Bryan Bickell to put the Hawks up 1-0. It was Rozsival’s first of the year.

In the final two minutes of the opening period, both teams found the back of the net. The Hawks’ fourth line put a puck into the net. Ben Smith scored his second of the year, and you can tell from his reaction (see photo above) that he was relieved to get back into the scoring column. Smith and Kruger, who had the primary assist on the play, continue to be arguably the best penalty killing pair of forwards in the league, leading the Hawks’ NHL-best PK unit.

Unfortunately, Brendan Gallagher scored 26 seconds later to cut the Hawks’ lead in half.

That goal sparked the Montreal offense and carried into a strong second period. The Habs picked up goals from two defensemen – Sergei Gonchar and PK Subban – in the middle frame to take a 3-2 lead into the game’s final 20 minutes. Subban’s goal came 13 seconds into a Montreal power play after Patrick Kane “tripped” Brandon Prust, who was later shown to have gone down on his own but still got the call.

If the second period belonged to the Canadiens, the third saw the Blackhawks capture just enough of the momentum to get the game tied, and eventually a bouncing puck found its way into a game-winning goal.

Jonathan Toews scored a power play goal at 4:18 to tie the game. His goal came 13 seconds into the Hawks second power play of the opening minutes of the final period; Alexei Emelin spent the first two in the box for tripping Marian Hossa at the horn closing the second period, and PK Subban was in the box for hooking when Toews scored.

The teams traded chances, and Antti Raanta was lucky (and got some help) to keep the game tied. In the end, a bouncing puck found Saad and he unloaded for his fifth of the season and a game-winner with only 27 seconds left in regulation.

Raanta was good enough to earn the win, allowing three goals against 41 shots in the game. Carey Price took the loss, allowing four against 36 shots.

Bickell picked up an assist on Rozsival’s goal and was credited with one blocked shot and one hit, but once again was one of two Blackhawks skaters to finish with less than 10 minutes of ice time; Daniel Carcillo and Bickell took only 10 shifts each in the game.

Hossa and Joakim Nordstrom led the Hawks with three hits each, while Duncan Keith and Smith were the only Hawks with more than one blocked shot (they had two each). Kruger surprisingly led the Hawks with six shots on net.

Toews led the way, winning 13 of 23 faceoffs after winning only three of his first ten. Chicago’s captain was credited with the secondary assist on Saad’s game-winner to go with his own game-tying goal and led Hawks forwards skating 22:12 in the game.

Kane and Kris Versteeg continued their point production, each picking up an assist on Friday night. Brad Richards also had an assist and won nine of 13 faceoffs in the game. Kruger, Nordstrom and Shaw also picked up helpers in the victory.

The Hawks will have to turn around and bring a better effort on the road on Saturday night in Nashville against the division-leading Preds.

Before the game, the Blackhawks showed their usual amount of class by observing a moment of silence for an Original Six opponent that the entire hockey world respected, Jean Beliveau.

14 thoughts on “Brandon Saad, Blackhawks Escape With Another Win

  1. Very classy indeed. Plus Jim Cornielson sang the first half of the Canadian anthem in French…very nice touch and not easy to do. Hats off to the Blackhawk organization. Sometimes its almost incredibily hard to get your head around how this whole thing has turned around so dramatically on every level. Super proud to be a Blackhawk fan these days…..and we won to boot, in dramatic fashion at that. Chapeau to all.

  2. The defensive zone coverage was sloppy and loose and definitely below the standard they’ve set recently. The team can’t be hitting on all cylinders every game and this was one where they didn’t – but they still won the game which is a testament to how good this team is right now. Course, even with the poor defensive game, the offense had a lot of missed quality scoring chances and Price made a lot of good saves, so they very well could have scored another 4 goals tonight. There’s been a bunch of games where the defense carried the offense. This game, the offense carried the defense. It’s nice to be good on offense and defense and be able to win even when one of the units struggles.

    They are 7-1 since the circus trip started and 6 of those wins came against teams in playoff positions. They’ve outscored their opponents 31-16 over this stretch. Outstanding.

    Division leading Preds tomorrow night, so there’s no rest for the boys. A much improved offense and they still have Rinne, Weber and Josi on the back end. A good challenge for the Hawks.

    Go Hawks ! ! ! !

  3. Entertaining game, Habs came ready and had a good transition game to challenge the Hawks. Pesky, chippy, aggravating team to play against, can see why they have had a few wild affairs with Bruins.. Agree with consensus, didn’t have iour best stuff, but pinged some pipes, Price was strong, and we still pulled it out with a whack-a-mole goal by 20.

    Raanta was seemingly more settled than last, made some good stops including the breakaway, but still flops and loses his crease a lot.. Guessing we’re going to see Darling tonight on the 2nd of b2b?

  4. I got lucky enough to be invited into 16th row box seats adjacent to the dot left where the Hawks shoot during the middle stanza. Compared with my normal Club level seats it was a welcome different perspective. You get to see alot of things that you miss from a greater distance of course, and the speed of the players up closer is breathtaking, especially the quick transition that takes place. That BS penalty they assessed Kane was right in front of me. You could see the refs arm going up even before Kane touched Prust. Brutal call.

    That was a wide open exciting affair last night. Defensive break downs by both teams left it up to the keepers to keep the scores down. Could have been an 8-7 game easy. Both Price and Raanta were really good. Raanta was very quick to react and held his crease well. Both teams had numerous high quality scoring chances.

    Watching up close Emelin and Subban are chippy players. Nasty stick work by both guys. Emelin penalty end of 2nd period was dangerous putting Hossa into the pipe, and then he pops Hossa in the back after he’s down on the ice for good measure. Subban skates around like he owns the joint. Gets away with holding, little stick pops every shift. He should be thanked for the that dumb ass penalty he took early in the 3rd allowing Hawks PP an extra opportunity they didn’t waste. Yes, Subban has a heavy shot, but its easy to see why he is disliked.

    A big sarcastic boohoohoo for Corey Perry. One doesn’t like to see players hurt, but Perry going down last night had some karma attached imo. The guy is responsible for more douchebaggery that most players in the league. Have a nice rehab.

    Should be a good one tonight in Nashville. Back to backs are rough, but the Hawks should be up for this one. I just hope they tighten up the team D compared with last night. Otherwise, the Hawks are rolling 4 good lines right now and that’s a big reason why they are racking up the points.

    Lets Go Hawks!

  5. The tribute to Beliveau brought back some bad memories ,he retired after stealing the cup thanks to a choke by Esposito on a shot from J Lemaire , which he took from center ice .yes thats right CENTER ICE , I was physically ill after that game it hurt so bad , to this day it still hurts finals 1971
    B

  6. Fun game to watch, but looking ahead to the playoffs, I wonder the following:

    A. Isn’t playoff hockey tighter, with less open ice, and therefore there are fewer odd-man break goals, etc, and more greasy ones in front?

    B. If statement A is true, wouldn’t we want guys who are willing to crash the net? And isn’t it true that we really don’t have many guys who do that?

    C. Doesn’t Jeremy Morin, who is physical, have the capacity to play that way? Remember his strong-to-the-net physical play down the stretch last year, and how effective he was?

    In short, I love the open-ice games like we saw last night, but worry that the style inevitably changes in the playoffs–as we clearly saw last year–and that our personnel right now is not configured to play that playoff style. Morin could be just the crash-the-net presence we need down the line.

    If so, why not give him ice time now, let him feel more comfortable, etc?

    Why sit him and never play him, especially when Bickell continues to do so little?

    Just a thought. I value the hockey wisdom on this board. Even you, Rufus, despite the fact that I know this post will piss you off!

  7. Phil- My thoughts exactly on the Perry/injury… when I saw it, turned to my wife and said “what come around goes around”- even though- Hit on Hossa was illegal on both – way he hit him (crosscheck/stick, and how late Perry hit Hossa)… and Perry gets injured with LEGAL hit… RIP Perry

    Assuming Dbeck plays tonite… who sits Rosey (playing lots of games in row- needs a rest)… OR move Runbad to his normal side w Lefty 44??? (negative- not a lot of experience )

    I really feel good about 44… hope he gets some positive plays early- to gain some confidence!!!

  8. Question. Considering there is a mumps outbreak flying through NHL dressing rooms, didn’t these guys get mumps shots when they were kids? Never heard of anything like this before. Hope it doesn’t hit the Hawks….

  9. Nice tribute to Jean Beliveau. I was with my dad at the Stadium for his last game, May 18, 1971, a bad memory …

  10. When the Hawks step up the speed as the have over the last few weeks, the speed makes up for a lot of mistakes. They are as a team skating faster and harder to the puck. When they skate hard and get to the net they are almost unbeatable, but some teams can make it ruff, like PREDs tonight, they can slow you down big time. But hand it to the Hawks some of the most top down hockey i have seen in a long long time. Ranta is getting lucky but maybe to night he shines and keeps us in it. Speed kills when you use it!

  11. IVAN . . . yes Morin is one to crash the net plus he has an incredible shot. Plus he has break away speed up ice BUT it’s Coach Q’s demand on back checking down ice and getting back Morin sometimes is late to get back going in the other direction. Getting back is not easy when your moving with speed and crashing into the corners to play the man and puck. Hawks are over loaded with guys who lead with the stick and go for the puck which is great like Towes, Hossa, Kruger etc. who seldom crash the boards they get back real easy and guys like Bick and Morin get shit for not getting back and should not. Richards is slow to turn too but he’s older. Hawks have plenty of guys who can play the front of the net, none “born to do it” maybe BICK but even Shaw under sized will end his career by MAY if the Hawks continue to demand him to put his under sized body in front and takes that abuse he’s done. Not easy . . . it’s an art. Seabrook if he was a winger has the size and skill actually. go hawks, the playoffs will all be close one goal games so defense and goal tending will be the real difference.

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