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Brandon Saad's second time around with Blackhawks nothing like the first

Paul Skrbina, Chicago Tribune on

Published in Hockey

Brandon Saad has been here and done that, having helped the Blackhawks win two Stanley Cups.

But the forward's second spin with the Hawks after two seasons with the Blue Jackets has been, in a word, different.

"In the past we'd always win our division, championships," Saad said. "It was tough to complain about things.

"Now it's a different look. We're in a different spot. A little adversity is good to get that competitiveness, be fighting toward the end. It gets the blood flowing."

Saad's return to the Hawks was triumphant. He posted a hat trick on opening night. He had a goal and an assist in the next game. He was playing on the top line with Jonathan Toews. The season had all the promise of yesteryear.

Until it didn't.

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Those four goals in the first two games represent 30.8 percent of Saad's output in that department. He has scored only nine in 48 games since. The Hawks are in last place in the Central Division. They were four points and four teams out of the second Western Conference wild-card spot after their win Tuesday against the Predators.

"Kind of coasted our way (to the playoffs in the past)," Saad said. "I've seen the good side. ... With the Hawks, the way they run things, every time our back is against the wall, we seem to come up with something special. We're kind of in that situation."

Saad's also in a situation. Three times he has had stretches of at least six games without a point, including his current nine-game streak.

He has been moved from the top line to the second line with Patrick Kane and Nick Schmaltz, and he's on pace to score fewer than 40 points. His career low is 27, which came in 46 games during his rookie season.

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