Bickell, Saad contribute to Hawks' scoring

November, 10, 2013
11/10/13
10:54
PM CT
Powers By Scott Powers
ESPNChicago.com
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CHICAGO -- As good as the Chicago Blackhawks had been offensively as of late, there were two notable names missing from their production.

While the Blackhawks tallied 22 goals in their previous five games prior to Sunday, forwards Bryan Bickell and Brandon Saad hadn’t contributed a single point during that span.

[+] EnlargeBryan Bickell
AP Photo/Andrew A. NellesBryan Bickell scored for the first time in seven games and was happy to relieve the top line's scoring burden.
They changed that on Sunday.

Bickell snapped a six-game pointless streak and scored a goal, and Saad broke his five-game pointless streak and delivered a goal and an assist in the Blackhawks’ 5-4 win over the Edmonton Oilers on Sunday.

Bickell was pleased to be able to take some of the scoring load off the team’s top line of Patrick Sharp, Jonathan Toews and Marian Hossa. On Saturday, the trio accounted for eight of the Blackhawks’ 14 points in a 5-2 win over the Dallas Stars.

“Seeing [Toews], [Hossa] and Sharp, they’re fun to watch out there,” Bickell said. “They’ve had great chemistry right now, and they’ve been most of our offense. To chip in here and there when we can, that’s good. We just need to keep this going.”

Saad jump-started the Blackhawks' offense on Sunday. During the first period, a pass from Blackhawks forward Brandon Pirri was redirected and bounced to Saad as he was skating toward the net. Saad knocked the puck down, gathered it and shot into the bottom-left corner of the net for his fourth goal of the season.

With the Oilers leading 2-1 in the second period, Saad came through again for the Blackhawks. He blindly centered a pass from near the left boards and connected with a wide-open Andrew Shaw in the slot. Shaw scored and tied the game.

“I heard Shawsy there yelling in the middle and kind of just threw it there, and he ended up getting the goal there,” Saad said. “It was a good talk by his part, good chemistry and it was a nice goal.”

Saad hadn’t had a point since he had a goal and an assist against the Minnesota Wild on Oct. 28, but Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville felt like he was on the verge.

“I thought he trended with a good game last night,” Quenneville said. “I thought today he was dangerous as well. I thought he had the puck a lot in the offensive zone. He was dangerous off those turnovers in the neutral zone as well. Always good to finish.”

Bickell had been on a roll last month with his own finishing when he went four consecutive games with a goal, but his fortunes had been reversed lately and he hadn’t scored in six games. He got back in the scoring column when he cleaned up a rebound off a Michal Rozsival shot in the third period. Bickell has five goals on the season.

Bickell liked seeing the offense continue to pour goals on, but the result was all he really cared about.

“The first couple weeks or month we were winning 3-2, 2-1, and now, it’s kind of like the opposite,” Bickell said. “It’s nice to get our offense, but games aren’t always going to be like that. We need to play defense first and keep the puck out of our net, and I think the offense will come. We’re happy again to get the win. If [we] win 6-5 or 2-1, I’m sure we’ll be happy with it."
Scott Powers is a general reporter for ESPNChicago.com. He is an award-winning journalist and has been reporting on preps, colleges and pros for publications throughout the Midwest since 1997.

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TEAM LEADERS

POINTS
Patrick Sharp
PTS GOALS AST +/-
78 34 44 13
OTHER LEADERS
GoalsP. Sharp 34
AssistsD. Keith 55
+/-M. Hossa 28
GAAC. Crawford 2.26