Just ten days ago, Chicago Blackhawks forward Brandon Saad, was nearly a healthy scratch when he was seen wearing a white jersey for several practices prior to the Blackhawk’s 4-1 loss to the Arizona Coyotes last Thursday.
Saad logged just 13:23 of ice time and tallied one shot on goal in the loss while playing with fourth line forwards, David Kampf and Marcus Kruger. Following the game, Saad talked about the situation and admitted he was surprised with what had happened.
“Things aren’t always going to go your way, but to be out of the lineup was a surprise today,” Saad explained to The Sun-Times, regarding his first practice sporting a white jersey since April of 2014. “But it is what it is.”
Apparently, Saad received coach Joel Quenneville’s message loud and clear.
After toughing out two more games on the fourth line, one a 4-1 win against the Columbus Blue Jackets, the other a 6-3 loss against the Tampa Lighting, Saad was promoted to the second line with forwards Patrick Kane and Artem Anisimov for last night’s game against the Anaheim Ducks. Quenneville’s near benching of Saad clearly lit a fire under the 25-year-old former all-star.
Saad earned his first two goals of the season on seven shots in 18:56 of ice time and a plus 2 rating in the Blackhawks 3-1 victory over the Anaheim Ducks. He crammed home the first goal of the game on an early power play after gathering his own rebound off of Duck’s goaltender John Gibson.
Then with the Hawks leading 2-1 late in the third and the Ducks on a two-man advantage, captain Jonathan Toews, poked the puck away from center Ryan Getzlaf along the boards, where Saad scooped up the loose puck and cruised down the wing snapping home the short-handed empty-netter securing the victory for the Hawks.
“I think kind of coming off of last game, I had some chances and when you have chances you feel good about yourself.” Saad said postgame. “So, it’s only a matter of time before they go in. I want to continue that confidence using my speed and getting around the net. And I found a couple here tonight.”
Saad will look to see if he can build on this performance when the Hawks take on the New York Rangers Thursday night at The United Center.