Hawks' secondary scoring a strong force behind success

Hawks' secondary scoring a strong force behind success
February 8, 2013, 1:15 pm
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NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The Chicago Blackhawks needed to get something, anything going after falling behind 2-0 to the San Jose Sharks on Tuesday night.

Then rookie Brandon Saad scored. Soon Andrew Shaw did the same. Then Marcus Kruger. Before they knew it, the Blackhawks had a lead they wouldn’t relinquish, and they got it from their supporting cast.

The Blackhawks’ big guns are always going to be just that, the team’s heart and soul and biggest point providers. But it’s going to take a team scoring effort for the Blackhawks to continue their success, and they’ve been getting solid contributions from everyone this season.

“It shows how much depth we have with this team,” said Bryan Bickell, who scored his second goal of the season last night in Glendale, Ariz., and is fourth on the team with seven points. “For me, I just have to be physical. And our line’s been playing well, putting up points.”

Indeed, the Blackhawks’ third-liners Bickell, Shaw and Viktor Stalberg have combined for 18 points in 11 games. Fourth-line center Kruger got his first goal of the season against the Sharks. And Saad, who’s had several good games, has gotten into the act. Yes Saad, who scored his first NHL goal in San Jose, is on the Blackhawks’ top line; but he’s not in the superstar category yet.

And coach Joel Quenneville said even when those guys aren’t scoring, they’re still adding plenty of elements.

“When you get contributions from those guys it can be a big difference,” he said. “Their play’s been fine; sometimes they don’t have production to reflect it. In Saader’s case, it’s the same thing. We don’t care who scores or who makes plays, but we expect everyone to contribute offensively at some point. And let’s make sure playing all the same way defensively.”

Shaw said it’s just about the players working for each other.

“The top few lines are going to be playing against some great players, and secondary scoring is what takes you far in the playoffs,” said Shaw, who’s currently riding a five-game point streak with two goals and three assists. “If we compete, play hard, those goals will come.”

The Blackhawks’ top guys like what’s happening.

“It’s great to see different guys scoring, it’s great for everybody’s confidence and the team,” said Marian Hossa. “When the top guys don’t score, there’s someone who can step forward. We’ve just spread the power over the team, and it’s nice to see.”

The Blackhawks have gotten plenty from their top players. But they haven’t been alone in collecting points, and that’s one more benefit from rolling four lines so well in this early season.

“Everything comes together,” Shaw said. “We work for each other and all four lines have been going pretty well. If you do things like that, good things will come from it.”