Blackhawks forward Patrick Kane (center) celebrates his series-clinching… (Nuccio DiNuzzo / Chicago…)
You are missed, Andrew Shaw.
Since the undersized forward was injured in Game 1 of the series against Minnesota, the Blackhawks have tried to duplicate his scrappy presence, especially in front of the Wild net. The Hawks were successful in Game 5, creating a pair of ugly goals by Jonathan Toews and Bryan Bickell in a 2-1 victory.
"He's a little fireball out there," Bickell said. "I know when we see him in the locker room he doesn't want to shut up."
On Tuesday, the Hawks tried to eliminate the Wild in St. Paul, where they looked less than stellar in games 3 and 4 in this series. They were going to need a heavy dose of Shaw from everyone to avoid a Game 7.
These moments during Game 6 definitely got Hawks fans fired up.
Happy birthday, Kris Versteeg! The newly minted 28-year-old throws it to the front of the net from the right corner, and somehow, with Peter Regin clogging the Wild defense, the puck bounces past Wild goaltender Ilya Bryzgalov for a goal and an early Hawks lead. Shaw couldn't have drawn it up better himself.
Fireballs: 5 out of 5
Everyone knows penalty killing is about tenacity (and crossing your fingers that your goaltender bails you out when needed). With Niklas Hjalmarsson in the penalty box, the Hawks shut down the first Wild power play and could breathe a little easier. At least for the moment. This is an elimination game we're talking about.
Really, Matt Cooke? The Wild forward, who JUST returned from his latest suspension for a dangerous play, nearly decapitated Johnny Oduya with a hit near the Minnesota bench. Very un-Shaw-like. Play tough but keep it clean. (We'd include what Oduya said to Cooke here, but we don't want the NHL to fine us.)
Score: Blackhawks 1, Minnesota 0
Erik Haula scores what might be the Wild's smoothest goal all series. The forward streaks past the Hawks defense, including a diving Johnny Oduya, and whips it past Corey Crawford's glove on the far side. Shaw might be impressed, though he won't admit that publicly.
"Craw-ford. Craw-ford." Minnesota fans have been relentless with their taunt-chants of the Blackhawks goalie. Although the Hawks net minder has been brilliant for much of the postseason, he seems to struggle a bit in St. Paul. Time to get the man some ear plugs.
Two breakaways. Zero goals to show for it. First Bryzgalov stones Patrick Sharp—for the second time this series—as the Hawks sharpshooter tries to lift it over the Wild goalie after a left-to-right move. Second later, Crawford denies Justin Fontaine on a low shot on the short side. Check your heart rate!
Where's Peter Regin been all this time? Oh yeah, on the Hawks bench until Game 5. He saves a sure goal by scooping it away from a wide-open net, preserving the tie for the time being. Much like Shaw in last year's playoffs, Regin has come out of nowhere and had a major impact.
Score: Blackhawks 1, Minnesota 1
No one in the NHL stick handles like Patrick Kane. Which doesn't really have anything to do with Andrew Shaw. It's just really, really fun to watch, because you know something awesome is about to happen.
Hjalmarsson, bruised throat and all, screams at the refs after getting slapped with an iffy delay-of-game penalty. Shaw likes to yell, too.
What the Blackhawks didn't want was for the Wild to play like Shaw, as they have all series. More than 10 minutes elapsed before the Hawks got their first shot in the third period. So. Frustrating.
Score: Blackhawks 1, Minnesota 1
Patrick Kane didn’t even need his shin pads. He grabs a loose puck pulls it to his backhand and calmly flips into the net, like only Kane can. Game over, series over.
Final score: Blackhawks 2, Minnesota 1
Chicago Tribune contributed to this report.
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