Blackhawks

Blackhawks: Andrew Shaw bringing life to third line

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Blackhawks: Andrew Shaw bringing life to third line

The spark that ignited Andrew Shaw’s game was apparently lit last Tuesday, when the Blackhawks agitator took a good razzing from his teammates.

“A lot of guys were giving him a hard time there in the morning. Usually he’s always in a great mood and that morning he was a little more sensitive to our jokes and humor than usual,” Jonathan Toews said with a grin. “He was a little more sensitive that morning but it turned out it worked out great. So I think that’s maybe something we’ll continue trying to do, see if it pays off.”

Whether or not the good-natured ribbing got Shaw going, there’s no doubt the Blackhawks’ shift disturber been a more noticeable player these last three games. He’s helped bring some life to a third line that’s been too quiet this season and was one of the few bright spots in the Blackhawks’ lopsided loss to Nashville on Thursday night.

And it started on Tuesday when Shaw had a goal and an assist, snapping a five-game point-less streak.

[SHOP: Gear up, Blackhawks fans!]

“Yeah, it was one of my best,” Shaw said of that home game against the Predators. “I have to stick to it, get in on the forecheck, get pucks back, sustain pucks, put them in the net and good things will come from that.”

Shaw provided a lift – or tried to – in another way on Thursday, fighting Barret Jackman. Coach Joel Quenneville said following that game that Shaw “was the one guy who left it out there.” Quenneville has liked what he’s seen from Shaw recently.

“It seems like he has the puck more, has more pace to his game. You certainly notice his energy, tenacity,” Quenneville said. “He’s a factor every single shift and that’s where he gets noticed and appreciated.”

The points help, too. Shaw is one of several Blackhawks who have struggled to get many this season but he now has a goal and two assists in his last three games.

[MORE: Power play has been rolling recently for the Blackhawks]

“We can’t expect one line to do everything every night,” Shaw said, referring to the second line of Artemi Panarin, Artem Anisimov and Patrick Kane. “We have to chip in, take the pressure off them a little bit.”

Maybe Shaw’s just finding his niche again; all players go through ebbs and flows throughout a season. But if the team agitating their agitator is what got Shaw going, it may become a game-day habit.

“It’s a team job I guess. We all have to chip in and try and get it done,” Toews said. “We did that the other day and it worked out.”

Hawks Talk Podcast: Thoughts on Corey Crawford's season debut

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USA TODAY

Hawks Talk Podcast: Thoughts on Corey Crawford's season debut

In the latest Hawks Talk Podcast, Pat Boyle, Jamal Mayers and Charlie Roumeliotis recap Corey Crawford’s season debut after missing nearly 10 months with a concussion.

Mayers talks about the Kitty system that Niklas Hjalmarsson and Vinnie Hinostroza probably dealt with in their returns to Chicago.

The guys also discuss what’s next for Crawford, the upcoming matchup against Artemi Panarin and the Columbus Blue Jackets, and the Blackhawks’ biggest areas for improvement.

Listen to the full podcast here or via the embedded player below, and be sure to subscribe, rate us and write a review!

Four takeaways: Blackhawks suffer first regulation loss, but Corey Crawford looks sharp in season debut

Four takeaways: Blackhawks suffer first regulation loss, but Corey Crawford looks sharp in season debut

Here are four takeaways from the Blackhawks' 4-1 loss to the Arizona Coyotes at the United Center on Thursday:

1. Return of the Crow

The Blackhawks got their man back between the pipes after a 10-month layoff due to a concussion. And he looked like same old "Crow."

Crawford stopped 27 of 30 shots for a save percentage of .900. He faced 12 shots and eight scoring chances in the first period, but nothing too out of the ordinary. The biggest save he made was on a Michael Grabner breakaway in the third period, bailing out a turnover in the neutral zone.

"I think I felt better in the second and third," Crawford said. "But they really didn’t get that many opportunities early. It was nice. I think they flipped one in for the first one, so that was kind of good just to get in it and feel one early. We were close in that one all game and we created a lot. I thought [Antti] Raanta played really well.

"It was a tough, tough break at the end. Still felt I should have stopped that one. We were right there, we were creating a lot and gotta try to come up with that one. Just gotta forget about it and worry about the next game."

2. Alex DeBrincat, Jonathan Toews extend point streaks

The hot start continues for the Blackhawks' two leading scorers, both of whom assisted on Erik Gustafsson's goal in the second period to stretch their point streaks to six games. DeBrincat and Toews each have 10 points this season.

3. Overtime streak ends

The Blackhawks made history by forcing five straight overtime games to start the season, something no team has ever done in the four major sports (NBA, NFL, NHL, MLB). But they didn't have the comeback magic in them this time.

Entering Thursday, the Blackhawks were 1-0-1 when trailing after two periods. They were 5-28-2 last season for a win percentage of .143.

4. Familiar faces, new places

Five former Blackhawks took the ice for the Coyotes: Vinnie Hinostroza, Niklas Hjalmarsson, Jordan Oesterle, Richard Panik and Antti Raanta.

It was Hjalmarsson's first trip back to Chicago since being traded in the 2017 offseason. He received a nice video tribute during the second TV timeout of the first period, which made him very emotional.

"I almost got emotional too seeing his reaction," Toews said. "He's one of those guys you'll never forget what he meant to this locker room. He was a quiet guy in the room but we all know how he played and put everyone else before himself. Pretty cool reaction from the fans too. I think we were all sad to see him leave this locker room, he did a lot of special things and was a massive part of our championship wins. Happy for him to get that reception. It's well-deserved and obviously we miss having him around."

As far as the game, Hjalmarsson logged a team-high 22:18 of ice time and blocked three shots. Oesterle registered a secondary assist on Arizona's first goal, which was its first 5-on-5 of the season.

Hinostroza, who was also part of the Marian Hossa trade over the summer, scored twice in his return to his hometown, beating Crawford with a wrist shot to make it 2-1 in the second period and an empty-netter in the third; his second goal turned out to be the game winner, the fourth of his career and first as a member of the Coyotes.

Panik recorded four shot attempts (three on goal). And Raanta improved to 16-0-3 in his career at the United Center, a remarkable record for any goaltender in any situation.