CHICAGO (AP) — Brandon Saad threw his arms in the air and yelled as the crowd roared.
The puck finally went in, and it was quite a relief for the struggling forward.
Saad scored his first two goals of the season, Patrick Kane snapped a third-period tie with his team-high eighth goal and the Chicago Blackhawks handed the Anaheim Ducks their third straight loss with a 3-1 victory Tuesday night.
“When they’re not going in, you kind of grip a little tight, but when they’re going in they seem to open the floodgates,” Saad said. “The last game I had some chances. It was only a matter of time before they go in.”
Corey Crawford made 24 saves, helping Chicago improve to 1-1 on a three-game homestand. It was Crawford’s third game since he suffered a concussion last year.
The game was tied at 1 when Blackhawks defenseman Erik Gustafsson made a terrific play, slapping a pass to a wide-open Kane in the right circle. Kane converted the easy one-timer with 12:13 left.
“Gus faked a slap shot and came right over to me,” Kane said. “I just had to hit the net on that one.”
Marcus Kruger was whistled for holding at 17:29 and the Ducks pulled goaltender John Gibson, creating a 6-on-4 power play. Ryan Kesler had a potential tying goal waved off because his stick was above the crossbar and Saad put it away with an empty-netter with 34 seconds left.
Rickard Rakell scored for Anaheim, and Gibson finished with 35 saves. The Ducks have just four goals during their slide.
“You score one goal a game you’re not going to win too many,” Gibson said.
Coming off an ugly 6-3 loss to Tampa Bay on Sunday, Chicago outshot Anaheim 16-6 in the first period and drew four early penalties on the Ducks. With Cam Fowler in the box for delay of game, Saad got the puck in front and knocked it in after Gibson stopped him on his first try.
“You take four penalties in the first period, you’re not giving yourself a chance,” Ducks coach Randy Carlyle said. “It’s as simple as that.”
It was Saad’s first goal since March 29 against Winnipeg. He had 18 goals and 17 assists last season after he returned to Chicago in a trade with Columbus for Artemi Panarin.
“He was excellent tonight,” coach Joel Quenneville said. “That was a great play around the net.”
Kane had a good look at a 2-0 lead early in the second, but Gibson got over and smothered his shot from the side. Gustafsson banged a shot off the crossbar midway through the period before Rakell intercepted Jonathan Toews’ pass and beat Crawford on a breakaway, tying it 1-all at 10:34 with his second goal of the season.
NOTES: Ducks forward Nick Ritchie made his season debut. Ritchie signed a three-year contract last week after holding out through the entire preseason. … Chicago G Anton Forsberg was assigned to Rockford of the American Hockey League after clearing waivers. The Blackhawks had been playing with three goaltenders on their roster since Crawford was activated Thursday. F Luke Johnson was recalled from Rockford to take Forsberg’s spot. … It was Toews’ 800th regular-season game.
Ducks: Visit the Dallas Stars on Thursday night.
Blackhawks: Host the New York Rangers on Thursday night.
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