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Quenneville wonders if he made ‘a discovery’ with Saad-Shaw-Kane trio

May 29, 2014, 12:22 AM EDT

Brandon Saad, Andrew Shaw, Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane AP

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.

  1. 1943mrmojorisin1971 - May 29, 2014 at 12:31 AM

    I dunno, I’m told Kane has some skill. Play him enough and put him with a couple of pylons and he’ll do something like this sooner or later.

    Also he’s big time. Put him out one-on-five in an elimination game and I wouldn’t bet against him winning it.

    • esracerx46 - May 29, 2014 at 12:41 AM

      Kane does some dazzling things and is elite talent wise. However, he needs worker players to help on his line for him to be as effective as he can be. You see Toews and Shaw, their motor always goes. They battle and dig the puck out and feed Kane. You constantly see Kane kind of in no mans land in his defensive zone waiting for someone to get the puck to him, rather than help out or make sure his man can’t get a shot.

      That said, he’s not nearly as bad as he was. If Shaw could win some draws, and Saad could hit the net…just enjoy.

      • no - May 29, 2014 at 2:33 AM

        kane has shown increased willingness to be active in the defensive zone

        I understand what you mean but I think if q wanted him to play more defense, he’d play more defense. it’s not where he’s most effective

      • esracerx46 - May 29, 2014 at 8:06 AM

        I agree with Kane and his defense. Its why he’s perceived as lazy when he stands in the defensive zone waiting to be that outlet pass. But, that’s his job. Wait for the outlet pass and when get it out when it does come, and usually he’s leading a rush the other way not just getting past the line.

        My response was more directed at mrmojo. Despite how amazing of a stick handler Kane may be he does some amazing things when he has speed and space. Take those away by putting him with “pylons” and we don’t see what we love seeing. I’m not trying to take anything away from Kane, it’s just a fact that other players of a certain ilk help Kane make the plays he makes.

  2. esracerx46 - May 29, 2014 at 12:32 AM

    That’s funny. Including playoffs, before tonight since the beginning of the 12-13 season when Shaw and Said became regulars the Hawks have played 170 games. With all the line juggling Q is known for he has never put those 3 together? Here’s to keeping it rolling!

  3. rgledz - May 29, 2014 at 12:45 AM

    It was 5-4, not 4-3…..either way, I hope that Craw gained some much needed confidence in that OT. He needs to stand tall in game 6. If we can just get Hossa and Sharpie going the Hawks could get this done. Go Hawks!!

  4. dolphincult - May 29, 2014 at 12:50 AM

    How refreshing to hear actual hockey talk instead of ranger fans bashing Montreal and Canada………….. I myself have not ever really been a big fan of Crawford’style but he made a few timely saves in OT to say the least. Quick vs Crawford has been one of the highlights of the playoffs for me.

    • r8rbhawk - May 29, 2014 at 12:51 AM

      Stay a while dolphin 😉

  5. 950003cups - May 29, 2014 at 12:53 AM

    Damn! Was hoping LA would be nice and rested to annihilate the rangers.

    • r8rbhawk - May 29, 2014 at 12:58 AM

      hey, I had your back last night regarding Sandis Ozolinsh, I gotta know, you really were joking that you didn’t know who he is, right?

  6. hockeyornothing - May 29, 2014 at 1:44 AM

    Probably the best game I’ve ever been to. Thoroughly enjoyable. Geez the refs just let them play. I’m pretty sure nothing was going to be called unless some body parts fell off.

    On another note, Crawford still has to gain or at least show some confidence. His body language is just awful. There were many times where it looked as tho Cro thought the puck was in when it was clearly still in play. Hopefully the teammates can help him out a little in games 6 and 7 and keep it out of our zone!

    Go Hawks !

    • comeonnowguys - May 29, 2014 at 9:25 AM

      His body language is usually awful. He’s got that weird head snap (helmet adjustment?) that makes it look like he’s a crazy old man with Tourettes wandering the street dropping F-bombs.

      • chicagobtech - May 29, 2014 at 10:03 AM

        It also doesn’t help (his image) that he dropped an F-bomb or two at the parade last summer.

  7. pensman29 - May 29, 2014 at 7:12 AM

    The shaawdakane…

  8. pensman29 - May 29, 2014 at 7:12 AM

    The shaawdakane…

  9. pdmjr - May 29, 2014 at 7:44 AM

    Still wonder what Saad would be like playing in his hometown, I think Shero missed the boat on that kid.

    • esracerx46 - May 29, 2014 at 8:14 AM

      He was drafted 43rd overall coming off a knee injury. That’s why he fell. Hawks picked 2 guys in the first round ahead of him in Mark McNeil and Phillip Danault.

      • pdmjr - May 29, 2014 at 8:49 AM

        He had groin issues not knee. He fell because he tried to play through. Shero picked a dud in the first and then traded him for another dud Morrow. He also missed on John Gibson.

        Two Pittsburgh kids with bright futures playing for other teams. No wonder he was fired.

  10. tfilarski - May 29, 2014 at 8:15 AM

    Yes it is a great discovery. Putting someone that can actually skate with Kane as his C (unlike Zus who just slows 88 down) is magical. I just hope it is not too short lived this year due to Shaw’s lower body injury.

    • mnhockeydad - May 29, 2014 at 8:23 AM

      Yes, I believe Shaw is hurt. He was playing on one leg in the first overtime, and frankly not very well. He couldn’t push off and mostly coasted and reached all period. I’m hoping he can recover, but it didn’t look good.

  11. comeonnowguys - May 29, 2014 at 9:31 AM

    This discovery is nice. However, Sutter’s got last change on Friday, and I can’t believe he would continue to throw Kopitar and Doughty against Toews like Milbury said he would.

    Then again, if you take Doughty away from the Hawks’ top line, then you have Toews, Hossa, and Bickell just a little freer.

    Who knows. Still a long, incredibly tough road for Chicago.

  12. gret9 - May 29, 2014 at 12:56 PM

    That’s what Q says now….but let that line go 4 or 5 shifts without a scoring chance and BOOM goes the dynamite. :)

    He moved Shaw up to center Kane and Sharp during the regular season, they kicked butt and then Q sent Shaw back down to the 3rd line for no discernible reason that I could see.

    Q seems to have two main rules for the formation of his lines that he will only violate under extreme duress and even then for only short periods of time:

    1) Toews and Hossa must play on the same line even though they are the two best all-round forwards on the team.

    2) Toews and Kane must not play together because this forces him to violate rule #1.

    As another poster wrote above, to be his best, Kane needs to play with a couple of guys who will go in the corner and win puck battles because Kane won’t do that and that isn’t his job anyway. This is especially true in the playoffs. Imho, you can get away with playing Sharp and Kane on the same line during the regular season, but it just won’t consistently work in the playoffs.

  13. slysipops - May 29, 2014 at 3:49 PM

    hopefully Q learned something and replaces VERSTEEG . he ought to be wearing a KINGS jersey !

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