Blackhawks

Five Things from Game 2: Keith gives Blackhawks shot in the arm

Five Things from Game 2: Keith gives Blackhawks shot in the arm

ST. LOUIS – A split: the Blackhawks made it clear after a close Game 1 that they wanted that heading back to Chicago. They achieved it, albeit in the most interesting ways.

But enough of the lead-in. You’re tired and we have to get up early in the morning to get back home. So before we pack it up for the night, let’s look at Five Things to take from the Blackhawks’ 3-2 victory over the St. Louis Blues.

1. A tale of two coach’s challenges. The Blues thought Andrew Shaw interfered with goaltender Brian Elliott on his power-play goal, but officials didn’t see it their way. The goal counted, and the Blackhawks had a critical lead. The Blackhawks also won an offside challenge earlier, taking Vladimir Tarasenko’s would-be goal away. The process isn’t perfect – many, including Quenneville earlier this season, have said they’re not sure what is/isn’t a goal with the goaltender interference challenge. But for this night, at least, the Blackhawks will take the ruling.

2. Duncan Keith’s impact. Everyone knew he’d make one in his first game back from suspension, and he couldn’t have scored his first goal of this postseason at a better time. His goal with 3.2 seconds remaining in the second period gave the Blackhawks life, and their first goal in this postseason. Keith played one tick under 31 minutes, recording four shots a goal and an assist. “He’s a horse back there, so useful in all areas and he’s a threat in a lot of different ways,” Quenneville said. “They scored a big goal for us. That broke the goose egg and we got a big lift off that.”

3. Another great night for the goaltenders. The game may have ended 3-2 but one was an empty-net goal and another was scored with one second remaining in regulation. Both Elliott and Corey Crawford were tremendous again on Friday night, keeping their teams in another closely contested and low-scoring game.

4. Getting the greasy goal. Shaw’s goal was looking like it would be the game winner until Kevin Shattenkirk’s late score gave Artemi Panarin’s empty netter that honor. But Shaw scored the type of goal the Blackhawks are going to need more of in this series: greasy and close on the net. Shaw was there when Keith scored his, too, setting a screen. As Jonathan Toews said of Shaw’s work, “the rest of us can take notes on that. Doesn’t matter who it is, we need guys in front of the net. We had a lot of point shots tonight. Even if they’re going wide, we can get sticks on them, bounces off the end wall. Something’s going to happen when you have guys there.”

5. It’s only going to get better. This series is already pretty intense and that level will grow as the stakes get higher. Listen, whether or not you like the Blues they’re a great foil for the Blackhawks. From hits to great penalty kills to better goaltending, this series has been tremendous through just two games. “Yeah it’s the playoff series already,” Shaw said. “You can feel the intensity and how everyone wants it and how hard everyone’s working. You expect that the rest of the series as well.”

Andrew Shaw trying to find balance between toeing the line and not crossing it for Blackhawks

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USA Today

Andrew Shaw trying to find balance between toeing the line and not crossing it for Blackhawks

The Blackhawks brought Andrew Shaw back to Chicago because they lacked some bite to their game. He's already meeting expectations in the physicality department, leading the team with 23 hits.

But the other part of his game the Blackhawks have to live with is the amount of penalties he takes. Through six games this season, Shaw has taken at least one penalty in five of them and is tied for third among all NHL skaters with six minors. The only two skaters above him are guys who have played in two and four more games, respectively.

Because he plays on the edge, Shaw will occasionally cross it and he's trying to find that balance between toeing the line and not stepping over it.

"I find if I'm not playing on the edge, I'm not playing great," Shaw said. "I need to play physical. Even in preseason, I was just finishing checks — clean, shoulder-to-shoulder — and was getting penalty after penalty. Hockey still is a physical game. There's still hitting; it's still legal. So I'm going to go out there and play hard, make it hard on my opponents, make it hard on them physically, do what I do. Not going to change who I am now. I'm an old dog."

Shaw's reputation may also contribute to the matter. He's racked up more than 600 penalty minutes in his NHL career, including postseason, and the officials might be keeping a closer eye on him when he's on the ice.

"It's something he's got to be aware of, but I also think he's got a bullseye on him," coach Jeremy Colliton said. "If I go back through all the penalties he's taken, he probably earned a couple and he probably earned them five years ago. That's something he's got to deal with. We want him to play hard. I think we can handle the ones where he's running people over. We'll kill those off. Obviously the stick penalties and stuff we don't want. But he's playing hard for the team. That's a good thing."

Said Shaw: "The referees, no matter the history of the player, should call the game as it is. If there's a penalty, call a penalty. If there's not a penalty, you let it go. I mean, yeah, I might have been too vocal in my younger days. But the past three years I've been trying to clean it up a little bit. I just take my penalties when I get 'em. But I must have dug myself a really deep hole. Just trying to climb out of it since."

Still, Shaw knows he has to be smarter about the timing of his penalties and where they're happening. The ones that occur in the offensive zone are the penalties that must be eradicated from his game. The ones he earns from battling between the whistles and sticking up for his teammates, the Blackhawks can live with those.

"Obviously I don't want to take penalties, I don't want to put my team down," Shaw said. "I also don't agree with all of the ones I got. I think I got the short end of the stick on a lot of them. Bite my tongue, go to the box. Our PK's been working hard and competing and killing some penalties. Hopefully they start going my way, I guess."

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Robin Lehner to start in goal for Blackhawks vs. Golden Knights

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USA Today

Robin Lehner to start in goal for Blackhawks vs. Golden Knights

Robin Lehner will start in goal for the Blackhawks when they host the Vegas Golden Knights at the United Center on Tuesday, coach Jeremy Colliton confirmed after morning skate. It will be his third start of the season.

Lehner is coming off a game in which he stopped 37 of 39 shots for a save percentage of .949, which earned him the No. 3 star of the game in a 3-2 overtime win over the Columbus Blue Jackets on Friday. He was fantastic. 

Lehner is 1-0-1 with a 2.47 goals-against average and .931 save percentage in two starts this season.

Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Blackhawks easily on your device.