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.
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“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.
“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.”