The Blackhawks will always change things up if they’re not getting the results/production/oomph they’re looking for in a game. So Wednesday morning, there were more changes; and a second line is looking very intriguing.
Brandon Saad was with Andrew Shaw and Patrick Kane as the Blackhawks prepared for Game 5 against the Los Angeles Kings at the United Center. The combination blends speed, playmaking and grit as the Blackhawks look to stave off elimination in the Western Conference Final.
“I think we can be a big threat,” said Saad, who scored his fourth goal of the postseason in Game 4 on Monday night. “They put us together for a reason; we can bring energy along with skill. If we play our game, come out fast, we should do a good job.”
We write this knowing full well that it could change five minutes into the game. It could change before the game even starts; head coach Joel Quenneville ran one set of lines in pregame warmups in Game 4, then had Bryan Bickell, Jonathan Toews and Kane together to start the game.
Still, Quenneville likes what that trio could bring.
“I thought Saader and Shaw last game were effective, and Kane can add to the mix,” he said. “They had a good couple of periods there, generated some zone time and chances, (Saad) scored a nice goal there as well. There’s production and defensive responsibility in all the lines and we’re looking for that balance.”
Regardless, the Blackhawks have to get a little more something out of everyone. Production hasn’t been their big problem; allowing too many goals, be it on 5-on-5 or on the suddenly struggling penalty kill has been the biggest issue. But they need a response from someone, anyone, and they need everyone else to join.
“No matter what the lines are, no matter what presents itself tonight, we have to realize we have a really good hockey team here, a team that’s played in desperate situations before and a team that’s overcome a lot of adversity, whether last year or this year,” Patrick Kane said. “You can look back on those situations and know we’ve figured it out before. It’s not the position ideally you want to be in, being down 3-1. But playing at home tonight, we’ll worry about one game, worry about this one.”