Brandon Saad (Photo by Bill Smith/NHLI via Getty Images)
Chicago's Brandon Saad got his team on the board early in Game 1 against Minnesota with a gorgeous goal, and Patrick Kane was not to be outdone.
Chicago power forward Brandon Saad wasted no time putting his Blackhawks ahead in Game 1 of their Central Division semifinal battle with the Minnesota Wild.
Check out the deceptively beautiful goal, just 1:15 into the game. Saad flies down his off wing and gives Minnesota's star blueliner, Ryan Suter, the "ole!" Suter takes exception, believing Saad grabbed his stick, and Suter gives up on the play for a moment while he lobbies the official for a call.
That split second is all Saad needs. Check out the gorgeous shot-side shot. It requires a few angles to fully appreciate it:
Watch Saad's left foot. He opens it to sell Wild goalie Devan Dubnyk on a deke or shot to the far post, pulling Dubnyk off the near post. Clever.
Saad, still just 22, saves his best for the spring again. The goal was his third of the post-season.
Later in that same period, it was No. 88's turn. At least half the credit for Patrick Kane's goal goes to Brad Richards, who flashes his form of 10 years ago and undresses Marco Scandella, setting up Kane for a rocket of a one-timer:
The Hawks added another from Marcus Kruger two minutes after that. It was open season on Dubnyk at the Madhouse on Madison to start the series.
Matt Larkin is an associate editor at The Hockey News and a regular contributor to the thn.com Post-To-Post blog. For more great profiles, news and views from the world of hockey, subscribe to The Hockey News magazine. Follow Matt Larkin on Twitter at @THNMattLarkin