Saad strong example of Blackhawks' scoring depth
- Photos (1)
Brandon Saad celebrates with Michal Handzus after scoring the game-tying goal in the third period of the Hawks' season-opening victory over the Capitals.
Steve Lundy | Staff Photographer
How's this for balance? The Blackhawks got goals from all four lines plus two of their six defensemen in Tuesday's 6-4 victory over Washington to open the season.
Brandon Saad led the way from the third line with a goal and 2 assists, while Patrick Kane (first line), Marian Hossa (second), Brandon Bollig (fourth), Brent Seabrook and Johnny Oduya also scored.
The Hawks are banking on big things from Saad and fellow third-liners Andrew Shaw and Jimmy Hayes. It's only one game, but so far, so good.
"We want to be difference-makers out there," Saad said. "You always expect the top two lines to do it, but if I can chip in and help out the team that's what's going to make our team successful."
It's probably one of the younger third lines in the league with Shaw entering his third season, Saad his second and Hayes basically a rookie.
"Having these additions this year, we've got a pretty young team," said Saad, who thinks being in Rockford for much of last year with Shaw and Hayes helps. "We're all close. I've played with Jimmy quite a bit and played with Shawzie there at the end of the year last year.
"We're pretty comfortable. It's not going to take long to get our chemistry back. We're looking forward to getting it going."
Saad admitted he is much more comfortable this season than he was as a rookie.
"You know you're coming here to play for the Hawks instead of not knowing with the lockout and things like that," he said. "This year I feel great. You know everyone, you know the systems — there are no excuses."
Hawks coach Joel Quenneville likes everything about Saad's game.
"He's dangerous and strong in the puck areas," Quenneville said. "He's a threat who gives us some versatility. We can put him in a lot of different places as the game goes along.
"That line to me is dangerous in a lot of ways. We can expect them to score. (Saad) might see a different matchup defensively than he probably saw a lot of last year. One on one he's as good a young kid coming into the league as there is. It should make for a strong line with him on it."
Saad spent a lot of last season playing on the top line with Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane.
Hayes was plus-1 with 2 hits in the win over the Capitals.
"Jimmy gives us a big body," Quenneville said. "I think when he's hard to play against, when he takes the puck to the net and he's a presence at the net, playing with those guys there should be a lot of action around there.
"Hopefully he can provide some offense and some responsibility without the puck.
"Right now we'll get him going on that line. That line should give us something."
•Follow Tim's hockey reports on Twitter @TimSassone and check out his Between the Circles blog at dailyherald.com.
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