Hawks' Saad confident goals are coming

May, 2, 2014
May 2
Powers By Scott Powers
CHICAGO -- Chicago Blackhawks forward Brandon Saad hopes to follow in the footsteps of teammates Marian Hossa and Patrick Sharp.

Hossa and Sharp had goal-scoring opportunities against the St. Louis Blues throughout the first four games of their first-round series, but they failed to score. It wasn't until the final two games of the series they each broke through with a goal.

[+] EnlargeBrandon Saad
Paul Bereswill/Getty ImagesBrandon Saad has one goal in 31 career playoff games.
Saad had his own chances in the first round, but he couldn't convert on any of them. He's looking to change that as the Blackhawks open their second-round series against the Minnesota Wild on Friday.

"It came for them," Saad said of Hossa and Sharp on Friday. "It's only a matter of time before it comes for me. Just keep working hard and hopefully it'll come in.

"You look around the league, and some guys don't have goals yet that are top players in the league. I'm just trying to stay consistent, keep getting better every game and the pucks will go in."

Saad hasn't had much luck in the scoring department in the playoffs so far in his career. He scored once in 23 playoff games last season and has one total goal in 31 career playoff games. His lone goal came against the Boston Bruins in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup finals last season.

"You want to be better," Saad said. "Last year I scored a timely goal, and that's what I'm looking for this year. It's been a pretty good playoffs so far regardless of not scoring. Our line has a couple goals and been on the ice for a couple of those. I want to be a part of that and producing. It's only a matter of time."

Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville felt the same way. He was not pleased with Saad's play in early April and made him a healthy scratch against the Blues on April 6. Saad still hasn't scored since March 12, but Quenneville has been happier with his play.

Saad's possessions numbers were especially better the last three games against the Blues in the first round. He had a 54 Corsi percentage (the Blackhawks had 48 shots for and 41 against with him on the ice in 5-on-5 situations) during that span. He finished the series with four assists and a plus-4 rating.

"I thought he had a good first round," Quenneville said. "Saader gives you some intangibles of playing both sides, plays with a lot of different linemates, as well, in the course of a game. I thought he had real good jump, particularly as the series progressed against St. Louis. He could be a real good factor or a real big factor if he continues on and continues to progress."

Saad believes he learned something from being a healthy scratch.

"I've been playing better; it's something whether it's more focused or being more consistent," Saad said. "It's something he does things for a reason. I feel better now than I did then.

"Anytime you go through something new, it's frustrating. You always look back and things happen for a reason. You've got to take them as a learning experience and get better."
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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Patrick Kane
36 16 20 9
GoalsP. Kane 16
AssistsP. Kane 20
+/-K. Versteeg 15
GAAC. Crawford 2.00