Updated: Wednesday, Jan. 18 at 9:58 p.m.
Jimmy Hayes said theres no I-can-top-you battle in scoring and outings between him and fellow rookie Andrew Shaw.
If there was, the Chicago Blackhawks might want to encourage it.
Hayes and Shaw each had a goal and an assist as the Chicago Blackhawks beat the Buffalo Sabres 6-2 on Wednesday night. The Blackhawks, with 62 points, are back atop the Central Division and Western Conference standings.
It was another all-around team effort for the Blackhawks, who have won four of their last five and have gotten points in each of their last six games. Jonathan Toews scored two power-play goals he now has 26 goals on the season and Dave Bolland and Marian Hossa also scored. Duncan Keith and Brent Seabrook added two assists each.
The Blackhawks also had another goal disallowed when it was ruled Shaw made a hand pass on the ice. He didnt, and Marcus Kruger wouldve been the scorer, but the play was not reviewable. But the Blackhawks kept going in the third period, making the no-goal a mere afterthought.
And while everyone has contributed, the rookie performances continue to impress. Shaw and Hayes are bringing youthful energy and determination, and something the Blackhawks needed a little more of a constant drive to the net.
The kids are making it look easy at times.
Its definitely not easy. Its just being in the right spots at the right tine, going hard at the net, said Hayes. (Shaw) scored that pretty goal but all of mine have been right around the net. Just go to the net.
For Shaw, it was his fourth goal in as many games and his first career assist.
You cant get too comfortable, he said. The nerves are still there, but you just go in and do it with the mindset that this is another hockey game, play like youve been playing and you wont have a problem. I dont know if Im making it look easy, but Im playing with great guys, going hard to the net and things are bound to happen.
Whatever works. And on Wednesday, there were a lot things working right for the Blackhawks. They scored on two of four power plays both from Toews kept pushing the pace throughout and fired 35 shots on Sabres goaltender Jhonas Enroth.
Weve had a good couple games here. All the guys are rolling and that makes a difference, Keith said. Everyones clicking out there, contributing and doing the right thing. If we play like that, most of the times good things will happen.
There are a lot of good things happening right now for the Blackhawks. Yes, the Western Conference will continue to be tight; it always is. But theyre getting big points with a big player sitting on the sidelines. Its a testament to the depth of this team and to the opportunistic rookies who have added to it.
Its making a huge difference for our team right now that all four lines are working and making things happen, Toews said. It doesnt matter who were playing against if we play that smart defensive game and we roll four lines the way we have. All four lines can score right now and its good to see that confidence as a team.