<
>

Kane, Saad seek greater success together

CHICAGO -- Patrick Kane has shared the ice with many fellow Chicago Blackhawks over the past two seasons while coach Joel Quenneville has searched for the optimal linemates for his offensive star.

Of all those players, Brandon Saad has been the one forward who has clicked best with Kane.

Kane registered 16 points on seven goals and nine assists with Saad in 5-on-5 situations this season. It’s the most points Kane has had with any forward since the 2011-12 season, according to stats.hockeyanalysis.com.

Quenneville reunited Saad and Kane during the second period against the Los Angeles Kings in Game 1 of the Western Conference finals. It appears Quenneville will continue with the duo on the same line Wednesday.

Quenneville explained prior to Game 2 why he liked having Kane and Saad together.

“They both got speed, skill, patience with the puck [and] play recognition,” Quenneville said after the team’s morning skate. “They're a threat off the rush. In zone, they utilize all five guys pretty well, four guys. Just gives us some balance on lines. We'll see how that plays out.”

Kane and Saad were on the ice together for the Blackhawks’ second goal in Game 1 on Sunday. Saad set up Duncan Keith for a goal just after Quenneville switched Patrick Sharp and Saad on lines in the second period.

Saad thought he and Kane complemented each other and that he understood how to play with Kane.

“I’m pretty comfortable playing with him,” Saad said. “He likes to play with the puck a lot. I think just working hard and getting open for him and finding space because he’s going to create that space for you. I think we’ve had some pretty good success in the past, regardless of who our center was.

“It’s only a matter of time before we build our chemistry and keep going upwards.”