Minnesota Wild goalie Josh Harding defends the net against Chicago Blackhawks left wing Brandon Saad in the third period in Game 1 of an NHL hockey Stanley Cup playoff series Tuesday, April 30, 2013, in Chicago. The Blackhawks defeated the Wild 2-1. (AP Photo/Daily Herald, John Starks ) (The Associated Press)
Chicago Blackhawks' Brent Seabrook checks the Minnesota Wild's Jason Zucker (16) as he handles the puck during the first period of Game 1 of an NHL hockey Stanley Cup playoff series, Tuesday, April 30, 2013, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Jim Prisching) (The Associated Press)
Pittsburgh Penguins' Beau Bennett (19) celebrates his goal with Kris Letang (58) during the first period against the New York Islanders in Game 1 of an NHL hockey Stanley Cup first-round playoff series, Wednesday, May 1, 2013, in Pittsburgh. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar) (The Associated Press)
CHICAGO – Brandon Saad of the Chicago Blackhawks and Charlie Coyle, Jason Zucker and Jonas Brodin of the Minnesota Wild are being counted on for key minutes in the NHL playoffs this year.
It doesn't matter that they're rookies.
Saad played 21 minutes and had two shots in the Blackhawks' 2-1 overtime win over Minnesota in Game 1 of their best-of-seven series. It was the first career playoff game for Coyle, Zucker and Brodin, who will be back on the ice when the series resumes on Friday night.
Saad came into his own this year, when he had 10 goals and 17 assists in 46 games. He also led all NHL rookies with a plus-17 rating. He says playing on the same line with Jonathan Toews and Marian Hossa has certainly helped.