The Chicago Blackhawks were all over the Anaheim Ducks in the first period of Game 4, but it wasn’t until the Hawks went down shorthanded that they managed to break the game open with a thrilling shorthanded tally from Brandon Saad.
The 22-year-old forced a turnover in the Chicago zone and caught the Ducks flatfooted, darting past a fallen Francois Beachemin and fending off a diving Ryan Kesler swipe before beating Frederik Andersen blocker side with under two minutes remaining.
Saad’s goal offered his team a bit of vindication after a questionable slashing call sent Brent Seabrook to the box. Seabrook let the end of his stick fall lightly on Ryan Kesler’s back after a hit along the boards, and the referees nailed him for it.
It was the first shorthanded goal this year by Saad, but it should come as no surprise. He’s been a regular on the penalty kill, with the second-highest average time on ice among Blackhawk forwards at 2:25.
The goal was also Saad’s fourth of the post-season, after a 23-goal, 52-point regular season. Saad scored six goals and 16 points in the playoffs last year, so he’s due to start breaking out offensively for the Blackhawks this spring.
Saad was the only one to beat Andersen on 14 shots by Chicago in the first, as the Ducks goalie got off to another sparkling start. Andersen battled through heavy traffic at times and stopped a dangerous Brad Richards attempt just before Anaheim went on the power play late in the first.