If misery loves company, Chicago Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville might be on to something by putting Patrick Sharp, Ryan Hartman and Brandon Saad on the same line.
Sharp, a healthy scratch in four straight games, didn't have a point in the previous six; Hartman has 1 assist in his last 10 games; and Saad has connected on just 7 of 127 shots … since the ninth game of the season.
Quenneville hopes they can turn each others' fortunes around when the Hawks host Calgary on Tuesday.
"Well, there's certainly ability there to be successful offensively," he said after practice Monday. "They all can make plays … around the net. They can score goals. … So there's enough offense there that can add to our team game."
Saad, who scored 6 goals in the first nine games but has just 7 since, certainly has been the biggest disappointment of the three. He spent most of the season playing with Jonathan Toews, but lately Quenneville has tried Saad with a variety of teammates in an effort to get the 25-year-old untracked and playing the way everyone knows he can.
"Everybody has their stretches," Quenneville said. "We think he's capable of adding more offense to his game."
Saad scored 55 goals the last two seasons with the Blue Jackets. Coming into this season, 11.8 percent of his shots found their mark, but after a 6-for-26 start, his shooting percentage has been a woeful 5.5.
"It's something you try not to pay attention to it and you're just hoping the next one goes in," said Saad, who played a season-low 12 minutes, nine seconds in the Hawks' loss Saturday at Calgary.
Asked how he feels about the rest of his game, Saad sighed and said: "You know, I think just taking it day by day. For me, it's just coming to work every day and trying to pull out hockey games; taking these games and looking at them as playoff games. …
"You could have 50 goals right now, but being in the situation we're in it's tough to feel good about ourselves. It's just staying positive and trying to string together some wins."
Connor Murphy was not in the top three defensive pairs at practice, which means he likely will be a healthy scratch when the Hawks host Calgary on Tuesday. It was Murphy's behind-the-net turnover that led to the Flames' game-tying goal in the third period Saturday.
The Hawks went on to lose 4-3 in overtime.
"I just made the wrong read," Murphy said. "Thought I could reverse it, and I couldn't. You should just keep skating with it."
If Murphy sits, it will be his third healthy scratch in the last 12 games.
Artem Anisimov did not practice Monday, but coach Joel Quenneville said the center is fine. Anisimov has 1 assist and just 5 shots on goal in six games since coming off injured reserve. … Nick Schmaltz's shooting percentage is 28.2 (11-for-39) in the last 23 games. … By scoring at Calgary, Vinnie Hinostroza equaled his goal total (6) from last season. Hinostroza played in 49 games last season; he has played in 22 this season.
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