Shaw is a more important player for the Blackhawks than you might think; he averages about 16 minutes per game and is Chicago’s best source of goal scoring depth alongside Brandon Saad. Shaw has become one of the NHL‘s more effective players in front of the net on the power play, and his versatility allowed a Blackhawks team that only recently found a second line center to shuffle him up and down the lineup all year long. He also brings a physical element that few other players on the roster do, ranking behind only Brandon Bollig in hits during the regular season.
Despite his value to the team, Chicago didn’t miss a beat when it played without him in Game 2. Joakim Nordstrom saw his minutes hiked up a bit in Shaw’s absence, and he played quite well at center on the Blackhawks’ newfangled third line with Saad and Marcus Kruger.
Saad in particular picked up Shaw’s slack, being perhaps the best player on the ice in Game 2 other than Bryan Bickell. His two goals vaulted him to a near point-per-game pace this postseason, making his struggles from earlier in these playoffs as well last season’s a distant memory.
Chicago is rolling along, now having won six games in a row after dropping the first two games in the first round against the St. Louis Blues. Minnesota has a difficult task ahead.