Brandon Saad, Patrick Kane are Keys to a Chicago Blackhawks Game 7 Victory

By Sean Sarcu
Brandon Saad Patrick Kane Chicago Blackhawks
Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

A Chicago Blackhawks team that many had left for dead less than a week ago will battle the Los Angeles Kings in Game 7 tonight, in large part thanks to the efforts of Patrick Kane and Brandon Saad.

Kane has scorched the earth in the last two games, picking up a point on seven of Chicago’s nine goals. He more or less willed the Blackhawks to victory in a Game 6 that saw a third-period lead turn into a third-period deficit in a matter of mere minutes due to some great plays from Drew Doughty. Kane would have none of it, though; a gorgeous pass to Duncan Keith helped tie the game, and Kane himself notched the game-winner on a wonderfully patient play a little later.

Saad, who has taken most of his even-strength shifts opposite Kane with Andrew Shaw in the middle, has been equally brilliant. His Game 5 was the most dominant individual performance that any Blackhawks player has had in 2013-14, and he followed it up with a strong Game 6. His screen on the aforementioned Keith goal played every bit as large of a role in the play as Kane’s pass did, and his speed through the neutral zone led to No. 88’s game-winner late in the third.

Kane and Saad are the two chief reasons why Chicago has been able to mount a comeback. Previously, Los Angeles’ second line of Tanner Pearson, Jeff Carter and Tyler Toffoli had essentially monopolized the series in the Kings’ favor.

Since the puck dropped for Game 5, the tables have turned; Carter’s line has quieted down significantly with the Blackhawks’ second line dominating every matchup Darryl Sutter throws out against them; Los Angeles appears to be in deep trouble. Their effectiveness in shutting down Kane and Saad in Game 7 will go a long way toward deciding which team will move on to face the New York Rangers in the Stanley Cup Finals.

Sean Sarcu is a Chicago Blackhawks writer for Follow him on Twitter or add him to your network on Google.

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