May 29, 2014, 12:22 AM EDT
Chicago Blackhawks head coach Joel Quenneville adjusted his team’s defensive pairings heading into Game 5, yet his biggest tweak might have come from combining Patrick Kane, Andrew Shaw and Brandon Saad. That trio made an enormous impact in Chicago’s 4-3 double-overtime win against the Los Angeles Kings on Wednesday.
After only generating a single assist in his first four games fighting through a Kings defense that Quenneville acknowledged as stout, Kane collected four assists on Wednesday. The 25-year-old finished with a +3 rating, five shots on goal and 28:34 minutes of ice time in Game 5. He now has five assists in his last two games.
Shaw mixed a physical edge (eight recorded hits) with some offensive touch in producing two assists and three shots on goal.
While Kane’s reemergence might be the most important sign for a Blackhawks team that was desperate to get back into this series, Saad’s Game 5 was arguably a bigger revelation. He nabbed the primary assist on Michal Handzus‘ game-winner and finished with three points overall, yet it’s the overall view that indicates that he made a big impact. He fired seven shots on goal, delivered three hits and finished +4 on the night.
Kane seems to agree that Saad stood out:
It shouldn’t be too surprising that Quenneville was raving about that line’s combination of speed and finish, then.
And finally, here’s a hilarious butchering of cliches for comic relief:
At this rate, we might need to come up with a cute nickname for this trio.
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