Nick Leddy got his reminder on Saturday night that you might as well shoot when you get the chance. You never know what could happen.
Make that two reminders.
Leddy scored two goals, and Patrick Sharp assisted on both of them as the Blackhawks beat the Washington Capitals, 4-3, in overtime at the United Center on Saturday night. It was the final preseason game for the Blackhawks, who will now make their final cuts. Rosters have to be set on Monday, and as of now the Blackhawks plan to carry 23 on theirs.
[WATCH: Leddy gives Blackhawks 1-0 lead]
Leddy can generate some offense, when he’s got confidence in that shot. When it’s been there, so has the offense. He’d like to parlay Saturday night into some regular-season points.
“It seemed like me and Sharpie had a pretty good connection tonight,” said Leddy, who added another assist. “Shooting the puck always creates offense, whether it goes in or creates a chance for someone else.”
Coach Joel Quenneville liked what he saw.
“He put himself in a great spot,” he said. “Sharpie makes a great play, all of a sudden Nick jumps in the gut and anticipates a nice pass. He has a good shot. Especially when you’re in the middle of the ice, just fire and might get action off (the shots).”
[WATCH: Leddy nets second goal of the game]
Sharp had a stellar evening himself with two assists, as he looks poised to have another strong season.
“He’s had an excellent camp,” Quenneville said of Sharp. “He came to camp as fit as he’s ever been. He’s skating as good as we’ve seen him skate.”
Andrew Shaw, playing in his first and only preseason game, scored the overtime winner for the Blackhawks. While the veterans took hold of the score sheet, it was the final audition for several of the bubble Blackhawks. Coach Joel Quenneville said, “nobody hurt (himself). They just made it tougher on us.” Jimmy Hayes, part of the third line with Shaw and Brandon Saad, scored his first preseason goal in the third period. Defenseman Mike Kostka played just under 20 minutes with a shot, a hit and blocked shot.
Nikolai Khabibulin, substituting for an injured Corey Crawford, faced just 15 shots on the night, stopping 12. Braden Holtby looked great for the Capitals, stopping 32 of 36 shots. Mikhail Grabovski had a goal and an assist for Washington.
The auditions and dress rehearsals are over. Next time, it counts.
Ringing it in
The Blackhawks will receive their Stanley Cup rings in a private ceremony on Sunday night. Coach Joel Quenneville said it will be a great evening to celebrate the Cup once more. Then, it’s back to business.
“It’s always special when you get together and you can revisit that moment,” he said. “It’s a great moment to reflect. And after the ceremony, let’s turn the page and get excited (for the season).”