Hawks' Saad snaps goal drought

May, 4, 2014
May 4
6:41
PM CT
Powers By Scott Powers
ESPNChicago.com
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CHICAGO -- Chicago Blackhawks forward Brandon Saad wasn't upset with the way he had been performing before Sunday, but goals have a way of making life a little brighter.

Saad was able to smile a bit wider Sunday as he was finally rewarded in the goal column for his play. He scored what proved to be the winning goal and had an empty-net goal as well for his first two of the playoffs in helping the Blackhawks to a 4-1 win over the Minnesota Wild in Game 2 of their second-round series Sunday.

[+] EnlargeSaad
AP Photo/Nam Y. HuhBrandon Saad, right, celebrates a goal with teammate Nick Leddy in Game 2. Before Sunday, Saad hadn't scored a goal since March 12.
Saad was happy to put his goal drought behind him. His last goal had come on March 12.

"Yeah, it was huge," Saad said. "It's easy to talk about and to keep battling through it. But to finally get one in feels good. Got to keep rolling now."

Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville hadn't been concerned about Saad's lack of goals heading into the game. Quenneville had been seeing plenty of positives from Saad throughout the playoffs. He had five assists during the first seven playoff games. Quenneville said before Game 1 against the Wild he thought it was only a matter of time before Saad scored.

"Certainly nice to see him score, but I think the way he was playing, we'll take that type of play whether you get production or not," Quenneville said. "But I thought he really added a lot of elements to our team game with his speed, with that line being effective and you're comfortable playing him with anybody. I thought he had the puck a lot, backed off the D, but the finish was nice to see him score, very timely."

Saad's first goal came just as the second period was winding down. The Blackhawks had one second left on a power play when Saad received a pass in the right circle from Bryan Bickell. Saad slowly skated to his left to create some space, patiently waited for an opening from the high slot and fired a shot into the left corner of the net with 56 seconds left in the period.

"I knew I wanted to get to the middle of the ice," Saad said. "There was space there. There's a lot of bodies in front of the net, so I knew there was a screen and tried to get a shot through."

Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews has come to expect those sorts of plays from Saad.

"I keep telling him every night he's a monster with that puck," Toews said. "When he's on his game, he keeps his feet moving through traffic and he's slippery. For his size and power, he's able to somehow get around guys and keep the puck on his stick. He's making some great plays. I think when he plays like that, he's opening up room for everyone else. I think that's why he's had so many helpers, so far, but it's nice to see him get on the board. To see one go in is a good feeling for anybody."
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 Kane
PTS GOALS AST +/-
32 15 17 8
OTHER LEADERS
GoalsP. Kane 15
AssistsP. Kane 17
+/-K. Versteeg 15
GAAC. Crawford 1.87