ST. PAUL, Minn. – Brandon Saad came barreling down the slot before he heard Patrick Kane yelling at him. A few seconds and a slick behind-the-back pass to Kane later, Kane was burying a goal off that very Kane-like pass.
The Chicago Blackhawks left wing taking a page out of Kane’s book?
“Yeah, maybe playing with him, it rubbed off on me,” Saad said after the Blackhawks’ 5-1 victory over the Minnesota Wild, in which he had a goal and an assist.
For those who have watched Saad these past two seasons, this is becoming commonplace. Not passes like that, necessarily, but just his all-around game and ability to tally points as well as play some solid defense. Thrown together with Kane and Brandon Pirri, who’s getting his shot at second-line center in Michal Handzus’ injury absence, Saad and company were looking very comfortable. And Saad himself was looking, well, like Saad usually does.
“That’s a big period he had there, the nice pass to Kaner and beautiful goal to finish the night off,” Patrick Sharp said of Saad’s third period. “He does so many things well besides putting up points. It’s nice to see him get rewarded today.”
Teammates are getting used to Saad’s strong performances.
“He plays the game fast-paced all the time,” Corey Crawford said. “He got a good move at the blue line, got a step on their D-man and made a nice pass to Kane. He works hard and he’s got a lot of skill, too. It doesn’t surprise us that much that he’s able to put points up like that.”
Nick Leddy has played his share of games at Xcel Energy Center, be it when he was in high school and college or once he made the pros. But that first NHL goal in this building eluded him – until Monday night.
Leddy’s power-play goal was his first NHL goal at Xcel, giving the Eden Prairie native a memorable moment. For Leddy, that one had been a long time coming.
“I know it was my first one in this building, so it felt good,” he said. “And we got a win out of it, so even better.”
Sheldon Brookbank’s goal tonight was the first of this season and second game-winning goal of his career. His other career game-winner came when he was with the Anaheim Ducks, against the Blackhawks, on Feb. 26, 2012.
Brent Seabrook had an assist tonight and now has a point in three consecutive games.
Niklas Hjalmarsson and Johnny Oduya each had four blocked shots vs. the Wild.