Brandon Saad, Andrew Shaw, Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane

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


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.

Kane scores OT-winner, caps Islanders’ bumpy start in Brooklyn

Patrick Kane

On paper, it’s the perfect way to kick off meaningful hockey in Brooklyn, as the New York Islanders faced the defending champion Chicago Blackhawks on Friday.

In reality, there were some highs and lows, culminating with Patrick Kane scoring a power-play overtime-winner to give Chicago a 3-2 (OT) win.

The Barclays Center crowd was going to be a big part of the story one way or another, but even by building-opening standards, the audience made some waves.

Indeed, Kane was greeted with some jeers during his first road appearance of the 2015-16 season, though he didn’t sound surprised.

(There were other controversial chants, apparently.)

Speaking of the crowd, it may not have been the greatest turnout:

ESPN goes way, way in depth on how the change of locale was received, by the way.

It wasn’t a perfect night inside the rink, either, as there weren’t exactly rave reviews about ice quality. New York Newsday’s Arthur Staple compared the ice to a “slushy” and “soup,” with an anonymous Islander (or Islanders) describing the conditions as “awful.”

Kane was pretty diplomatic about it, for what it’s worth.


So, no, it was not a perfect night for the Islanders.

They probably envisioned a teeming, perfectly mannered crowd. Management likely expected Jaroslav Halak to be in net, too.

Sometimes breaking ground is often about overcoming those early stumbles, though, and maybe the best review is to parallel the on-ice results: the Isles at least got a point out of it.

Let’s not forget that there are some cool perks that come with this situation, even if the specifics may vary.

If you want even more information/photos/etc., you’d probably do well to check out #IslesOpeningNight.

Columbus collapse: Rangers spoil Blue Jackets’ opener

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For a little more than a minute, Brandon Saad was going to be the story of the Columbus Blue Jackets’ opener. Instead, his power-play goal merely got the ball rolling on a flabbergasting finish.

The New York Rangers scored three goals in 1:17 of game time to manage a 4-2 win.

They’ve now spoiled home openers for the Chicago Blackhawks and Columbus Blue Jackets to begin their 2015-16 season.

It might be easiest just to show you when the goals were scored, noting that the third period began with a 1-1 tie.

Brandon Saad power-play goal: 16:10 into third period (2-1 Columbus)
Oscar Lindberg: 17:24 (2-2 tie)
Kevin Hayes: 17:41 (3-2 Rangers)
Mats Zuccarello: 18:41 (4-2 Rangers)

Yikes. Zuccarello scored two of the Rangers’ goals, while a beauty by Cam Atkinson is likely long forgotten.