Blackhawks

"The Shrug Game" airs tonight on CSN

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"The Shrug Game" airs tonight on CSN

Five things to watch for in Comcast SportsNet Chicago's Wednesday night "Bulls Classics" broadcast of the Bulls' 122-89 Game 1 1992 NBA Finals victory over the Portland Trailblazers on June 3, 1992 (airing at 7:30 p.m.):

1) This game will forever be known as the "Shrug Game," for Michael Jordan's sly shrug after hitting his sixth three-pointer of the contest. With his 6-for-10 shooting from deep and 35 first-half points en route to a game-high 39 on the evening, there wasn't much else to accomplish after the intermission, as he left Portland completely demoralized, setting the tone for what would eventually be the Bulls' second consecutive championship. Not that Jordan hadn't proved he could make outside jumpers by that point in his career, but given how dangerous he was attacking the basket, Trailblazers were at a loss as to how to stop him. However, it wasn't as if Jordan had a one-track mind that night, as he also finished with 11 assists, proving a willing passer when the defense heavily committed to him.

2) Scottie Pippen's versatility was in full bloom by this point in his career, something made evident by his near triple-double of 24 points, 10 assists and nine rebounds. While he wasn't quite the scoring threat Jordan was -- as if any other player was -- Pippen had to be fully accounted for by opponents, lest he take over games, which he was fully capable of doing by then. Pippen not only expertly complemented Jordan's game and enabled him to rest defensively by guarding the other team's top perimeter scorer, he could also shoulder the offensive load himself when necessary. With the two top wing talents in the game on the same team, rivals were at the Bulls' mercy.

3) Chicago's bench was also coming into its own, as B.J. Armstrong (11 points and six assists) provided offensive firepower, forward Cliff Levingston and young center Scott Williams (12 points and nine rebounds) provided hustle and Bobby Hansen gave the team additional perimeter shooting. Backup big men Will Perdue and Stacey King, now the Bulls' television color analyst, added even more interior depth. Besides Armstrong, none of the reserves had an especially noteworthy individual NBA career, but as a unit, their skills were a perfect match to spell Chicago's starters.

4) Portland, which also lost to Detroit in the 1990 NBA Finals, was one of the better teams to never win a title during that era. Under Rick Adelman, the new coach of the Timberwolves, the Blazers had a deep and talented lineup, led by star shooting guard Clyde Drexler and steady floor general Terry Porter in the backcourt. They also had great size up front, with center Kevin Duckworth, underrated power forward Buck Williams and athletic small forward Jerome Kersey. Off the bench, the key players were perennial Sixth Man of the Year award candidate Cliff Robinson, blue-collar Mark Bryant and sharpshooter Danny Ainge, now the Celtics' top executive.

5) Drexler (16 points on 5-for-14 shooting) didn't have his best outing that particular evening, but the All-Star was regarded as one of the best players at his position in that era -- perhaps second to only Jordan -- something confirmed by his selection to the 1992 Dream Team. In fact, Drexler's all-around skills rivaled Jordan, as his size, athleticism, versatility and scoring ability put him in the upper echelon of players in the league. Some fans may remember Drexler as the reason Jordan ended up in the Bulls uniform in the first place. His presence in Portland -- along with that of veteran swingman Jim Paxson, the brother of Bulls guard John Paxson (both Paxsons currently work for the Bulls; John as the executive vice president and Jim, Cleveland's former general manager, as a scout) -- led the Blazers to select center Sam Bowie with the No. 2 overall pick in the 1984 NBA Draft, one choice after Drexler's college teammate at the University of Houston, Hakeem Olajuwon went first to the Rockets.

Four takeaways: Brandon Saad breaks out in strong bounce-back performance by Blackhawks

Four takeaways: Brandon Saad breaks out in strong bounce-back performance by Blackhawks

Here are four takeaways from the Blackhawks' 3-1 win over the Anaheim Ducks at the United Center on Tuesday:

1. Brandon Saad's breakout game

After turning in one of his best efforts of the season on Sunday against Tampa Bay, the Blackhawks rewarded Saad with a promotion to the top-six again. And he took advantage of that opportunity.

In the first period alone, Saad recorded four shots on goal, scored his first of the season on the power play, drew a penalty and had a takeaway in 7:42 of ice time, which led all forwards. He finished with nine shot attempts (a season-high seven on goal) and 18:56 of ice time.

On his power-play goal, Saad battled for position in front of the net, called for the puck and scored on his second effort. He did all the right things and got rewarded, including on the empty-netter that sealed the victory.

"I've had some chances, especially as of late," Saad said. "But it's definitely nice for them to get in and get a win on top of that."

Said coach Joel Quenneville: "He was excellent tonight. ... I thought he had great speed all over the ice, had the puck way more. We’re happy for him. Big factor in the win."

2. Erik Gustafsson's slap-pass becoming a thing

For the second time this season, Gustafsson contributed to a game-winning goal that involved a fake shot and slap-pass from the point. Patrick Kane was the recipient of the cross-ice pass and buried home the one-timer from the right faceoff circle

"I can’t score by myself, so it’s better to pass it," Gustafsson joked. "No, I know Kaner is out there. He’s always getting open when someone else has the puck so it’s easy to find him and there was one guy in front of me so I wanted to pass it."

3. Blackhawks cut down on high-danger chances

On Sunday against Tampa Bay, the Blackhawks allowed 25 high-danger chances at even strength. It put them at the very bottom of the league for most on average per game, ironically falling below Anaheim.

Through two periods on Tuesday, the Blackhawks allowed zero and only five at 5-on-5 for the entire game. Certainly a 180 from two nights ago, and an area they will continue to build upon.

"We just took away those quality chances," said Corey Crawford, who made 24 saves and picked up his first win at home since Dec. 17, 2017. "I don't think they really had too many where they had time in front of the net to really think about where they wanted to shoot and our guys were on the right away in the middle of the ice and that'll give you a great chance to win a hockey game."

4. Special teams battle

There were a total of 20 penalty minutes (10 for Anaheim, 10 for Chicago), which meant lots of power play opportunities and not as much even-strength time.

The Blackhawks had four of them in the first period, and converted on the second try when Saad scored his first of the season. The penalty killed went 4-for-4, allowing a combined eight combined shots on goal but limiting the quality chances.

Chris Sale labors in World Series opener for Red Sox

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USA TODAY

Chris Sale labors in World Series opener for Red Sox

When Chris Sale was with the White Sox, fans dreamed of seeing him headline a postseason playoff rotation.

That never materialized in his time with the White Sox, but Sale is headlining a World Series rotation for the Red Sox. The 29-year-old pitched Game 1 for the Red Sox against the Dodgers on Tuesday.

Sale didn't last long, making it into the fifth and getting pulled before recording an out. In those 4+ innings, Sale gave up three runs while striking out seven.

One of the key plays of the game featured Manny Machado getting an RBI single against Sale in the third inning to tie the game at 2-2. Machado later had an RBI groundout to again tie the game in the fifth before Boston regained the lead in the bottom half of that inning.

Was that a meeting of the White Sox past (Sale) against the White Sox future (Machado)? Machado will be a highly sought after free agent this winter and the White Sox have been connected to the former Orioles infielder since last offseason.

Game 1 featured a stellar pitching matchup of Sale against Clayton Kershaw, but it didn't materialize as it looked on paper. Sale labored while Kershaw gave up five runs in 4+ innings.

This postseason hasn't been a standout one for Sale. The lefty has a 4.40 ERA in 16 1/3 innings over four appearances (three starts and a relief appearance).

The longer Chris Sale is with the Red Sox, the less this will feel relevant to the White Sox, but it is still something to see the longtime White Sox ace on the mound starting a World Series opener.