BOSTON -- Chicago Blackhawks forward Andrew Shaw avoided a potential nightmare scenario in Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Final on Monday night.
With just over four minutes remaining in the first period, Bruins forward Shawn Thornton's shot deflected up and into Shaw's eye. The 21-year-old lay prone on the ice favoring his eye as blood poured onto the ice and the TD Garden crowd grimaced at replays of the injury.
Shaw quickly made his way to the Chicago dressing room, where he absorbed more stitches than he could keep track of before returning to the bench for the second period. He barely missed a shift.
"I was just hoping my eye was alright. Fortunately it was," Shaw said after Chicago's 3-2 win earned them their second Stanley Cup championship in four seasons. "Fortunately, they sewed it up pretty quickly and I was right back out to play again."
The toughness Shaw demonstrated in his return gave the Blackhawks a slight lift. And his facial injury didn't sap him of his signature physicality. That was evident when he took a roughing penalty on Boston forward Tyler Seguin 2:24 into the second. Just as Shaw was exiting the penalty box, Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews tied the game, 1-1.
Shaw's line with Brandon Saad and Viktor Stalberg saw its minutes reduced in the third period. But when Shaw was out there, he made a point to play his typically physical style with wanton disregard for his face's wellbeing. He even found himself in front of the net with a prime scoring opportunity late in the third period, but the puck skipped over his stick.
When it was over, Shaw was hoisting the Cup as blood trickled from his wound. It was a striking symbol of the sacrifices Shaw and his teammates made in winning the Stanley Cup.
"I know they [teammates] would do the same for me," Shaw said of his return. "We have a lot of push for each other -- for ourselves and for the guy next to you in the locker room."
Of course, any pain Shaw may have felt was likely tempered by the thrill of victory.
"What can I say? It feels great," Shaw said. "I can't even explain how happy I am right now."