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Blackhawks' Shaw thrives in the tough areas

by Brian Hedger / Chicago Blackhawks

CHICAGO -- Some are willing to play in the "dirty areas" of the ice because they accept it as part of their role.

Andrew Shaw, a 5-foot-11, 179-pound forward for the Chicago Blackhawks, is a little different. Shaw, 24, practically lives in those areas. He almost relishes the physical play that comes with playing in front of the opponent's net, and it paid off for the Blackhawks in Game 2 of their Western Conference First Round series against the Chicago Blackhawks at Scottrade Center on Friday.

Shaw helped Chicago to a 3-2 victory that tied the best-of-7 series 1-1 in multiple ways. He provided a key screen on a game-tying goal late in the second period, scored a power-play goal that put the Blackhawks ahead 2-1 late in the third period and drew a slashing penalty on Blues forward Vladimir Tarasenko that put Chicago on that man-advantage.

Heading into Game 3 at United Center on Sunday (3 p.m. ET; NBC, SN, TVA Sports), the Blackhawks know Shaw's value can't entirely be expressed in statistics or dollar signs.

"Call [it] the intangibles with him," Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville said Saturday at United Center. "He's a great character kid. [He'll] find a way to score a goal, get the momentum back on your side, do the right thing, stick up for a teammate ... you name it, but he brings them all. You've got to love his tenacity and competitiveness and his will. Sometimes he can change a game just by something you don't predict sometimes. But he has that element."

That "element" has prompted some memorable goals for Shaw, including his latest. The one he scored Friday was a classic example of a hard-work goal, or as Shaw said, "Getting those ugly ones."

A backhand shot by defenseman Brent Seabrook was stopped by Blues goalie Brian Elliott but there was a rebound in front of the net. Shaw took a hack at it and missed, and the puck caromed outside the right post. Shaw reached for it while getting checked by Blues defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk and pulled it back to stuff it just inside the post for a goal.

The play was reviewed twice, once under a coach's challenge for goaltender interference, and upheld each time. Less than two minutes after the Blues had a 2-1 lead erased by a coach's challenge that ruled Jori Lehtera was offside on Tarasenko's goal, the Blackhawks took a 2-1 lead with 4:19 left in the third period. It would have stood as the game-winner had St. Louis not scored with 1.1 seconds left for a 3-2 final score.

"[Shaw's] one of those guys you want to go to war with," Seabrook said. "He's always in there in the mix, whether it's a big hit or getting in front of a goalie or making the right play. He always seems to find a way to help us win. Last night, a perfect example, getting in front of the net and banging away at the puck and getting it in there. I thought that was obviously a huge goal for us."

Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews also thought so.

Toews pointed to that effort and said the Blackhawks need more like it to win a fast-paced, tight-checking series against their Central Division rival.

"That's how we're going to score," Toews said. "I think the rest of us can take notes on that."

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