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Shaw ruled out for Game 4

by Brian Hedger / Chicago Blackhawks

CHICAGO -- Andrew Shaw will miss a third straight game for the Chicago Blackhawks and might not play again in a Western Conference Second Round series against the Minnesota Wild.

The Blackhawks lead the best-of-7 series 2-1 heading into Game 4 on Friday at Xcel Energy Center (9:30 p.m. ET; NBCSN, TSN, RDS).

Shaw, who has a lower-body injury, was injured in the opening game of the series on a hit by Minnesota defenseman Clayton Stoner.

The Blackhawks initially hoped Shaw would be ready to play Game 3 on Tuesday in Minnesota, a 4-1 Wild victory, but he didn't make the trip. They returned to Chicago following the game and there was hope Shaw might make the return trip for Game 4 on Friday. Instead, Shaw didn't practice Thursday at United Center and Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville said Shaw will not travel with the team.

"Every guy's different and, you know, I think he's a very competitive guy and probably he would've done anything he could to play," Quenneville said. "I think we've got to tame him a little bit in that regard, so I think that was maybe what we were talking about at the time."

Asked if Shaw's return in the series is now questionable, Quenneville answered: "Uh, we'll see."

Shaw has two goals and four points in seven Stanley Cup Playoff games after scoring 20 goals in the regular season. He's a high-energy, spark plug type of player who fits perfectly on the third line, Quenneville's top checking unit. He also provides a lot of net-front presence despite his size (5-foot-10, 180 pounds), particularly on the power play.

Without him, versatile 25-year old forward Ben Smith is being asked to fill that role.

According to the lines the Blackhawks skated with during practice, the 5-11, 207-pound Smith is also slated to start at right wing on the top line with left wing Bryan Bickell and center Jonathan Toews, replacing right wing Marian Hossa.

"We need more traffic, more pucks and bodies to the net [to] create chances offensively," Smith said. "That's something we didn't do too well on Tuesday. Really, everyone has to go to the net hard, find rebounds and get pucks. We can throw a lot more shots on net, and that's something we can try and do [Friday]."

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