The Chicago Blackhawks had reason to be nervous as they prepared for their matchup against the Edmonton Oilers Monday night. They were going to be skating without their best player so far this season, Marian Hossa.
Hossa missed his second consecutive game due to family reasons after previously missing three consecutive games due to a lower body injury. There is no denying his presence out on the ice as a leader for Chicago, so it was natural to be weary about the team’s impending performance.
However, one player stepped up and showed the Blackhawks’ loyal following why he was put on the team in the first place. I am, of course, talking about Andrew Shaw. Shaw was no doubt the Cinderella story of Monday night’s game. He scored two goals, just one shy of the coveted hat trick.
Shaw, who previously sat with five goals and eight assists was lacking a real standout performance so far this season. Shaw skates at center on the third line with Kris Versteeg and Bryan Bickell and has been helpful this season, but he hasn’t been putting up the numbers he is truly capable of.
Monday night, he showed the world what he can really do.
This seemingly overnight success can best be summed up in that the four lines have finally found their groove. Coach Joel Quenneville has been tampering with the lines and undoubtedly will continue to do so, but the players have found the depth they need to skate well.
Shaw himself sums it up best when he said: “We’ve got back to our systems and rolling all four lines. Everybody is bringing the energy we need them to, and the chemistry through all four lines is pretty amazing right now. We’ve been playing some of our best hockey.”
It is a major concern for fans that the Blackhawks continue to play their best hockey. This is what propelled them to their record-breaking season last year and what will propel them towards keeping the Stanley Cup in their possession this season.
The talent is there in the lineup, and it is just a matter of players like Shaw tapping into that talent and making the most of it every single game out on the ice.