Blackhawks rookie Brandon Saad joked before Game 1 that he was saving all his goals for the Stanley Cup Final.
After going 17 games without a goal in the playoffs, Saad finally found the back of the net in the Hawks’ 4-3 triple overtime victory over Boston.
Saad played 31 minutes and had 9 shots on goal. He finished the game back on the top line with Jonathan Toews and Marian Hossa and was back with his two veteran linemates at practice Friday.
“I think regardless of what line you’re on, you come to work and do your best,” Saad said. “We have a good team and are solid with all four lines, so you’re always going to play with good players.
“These guys (Toews and Hossa), I played with them most of the year and we have that chemistry still.”
Hawks coach Joel Quenneville had new lines Friday, or at least the ones he used at the end of Game 1.
Patrick Kane and Patrick Sharp were at the wings with Michal Handzus in the middle, while the third line consisted of Dave Bolland, Bryan Bickell and Andrew Shaw. The fourth line still had Brandon Bollig at left wing with Marcus Kruger and Michael Frolik.
Viktor Stalberg was odd man out again.
Quenneville was asked about his constant line juggling, which has been a surprise to those not around the team all year.
“Well, I think most of the guys over the course of the season play with one another,” Quenneville said. “Sometimes it’s the matchup. Sometimes it’s mixing it up. Guys on a merit basis look like they’re playing well. They both go hand in hand.
“We feel in games and in playoff series, you don’t have enough time to hang around and make that decision. So sometimes we try things. We usually try them when we don’t like the way things are going.”
If anyone understands what Saad is going through with 1 goal in 18 games it’s Toews, who has the same numbers.
“He’s been around the net so much, he’s had so many chances, that people don’t really tend to notice until he finally scores,” Toews said.
“I’m sure it’s a huge relief for him, and as a line. We played great and did some good things last game. To have Saad back on the score sheet like that, it gives us so much more confidence that he can go out there and make plays.”
“Nice to see him get that one,” Quenneville said. “Hopefully he’s more comfortable in the scoring area going forward.”
Too many men:
Joel Quenneville went back and checked: The Hawks had 2 penalties all regular season and in their first 17 playoff games for having too many men on the ice, then in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final they had 2 in the three overtime periods.
“Kind of a weird thing — 48 games, all playoffs game, we had two too many men on the ice penalties in all those games, and we had two in overtime,” he said. “One guy came onto the ice, got hit with the puck. The other one, throw it to fatigue; it was late in the period.
“Sometimes you get stuck at the bench playing a puck maybe you shouldn’t have. Sometimes you get a guy coming to the bench, goes back in to play. It can happen. But we were fortunate to dodge two bullets at very important times.”
Hawks defenseman Niklas Hjalmarsson said there were no excuse for the penalties to happen.
“It happened way too much last game,” Hjalmarsson said. “That’s two too many. Going into the finals you shouldn’t really have penalties for that. That’s our own fault. It’s not the ref’s fault. They’re just calling what’s happening on the ice.
“That’s something we have to try and be better on going forward.”
Andrew Shaw, after he scored the game-winner in triple overtime in Game 1, said he loved Dave Bolland.
What’s there not to love about the way Bolland is playing?
“It took him awhile in this playoffs for him to get up to speed,” Joel Quenneville said. “Late in the last round against L.A., he seemed like he likes that challenge of having more ice time, more responsibility. He got a little quicker.”
Bolland missed the entire first round with a groin injury.
“With Bolly, you get that predictability defensively,” Quenneville said. “But there’s some skill there that he can play against top lines and we still expect him to score, whether he’s got a strict matchup or he’s got a little bit of variety in his role.”Copyright © 2013 Paddock Publications, Inc. All rights reserved.