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Rookies Shaw, Hayes grabbing spotlight

1/18/2012

CHICAGO -- The rest of the NHL is on notice.

The Chicago Blackhawks have taken their offense to another level with the addition of goal-scoring rookies Andrew Shaw and Jimmy Hayes. The duo was at it again on national television Wednesday night as both produced a goal and an assist in a 6-2 route of the Buffalo Sabres.

Shaw scored his fifth goal while Hayes added his fourth. The 20- and 22-year-olds have played eight and 10 games, respectively, in the league. It’s not supposed to look this easy, is it?

“I don’t know if I’m making it look easy,” Shaw said. “Playing with great guys, going hard to the net, things are bound to happen.”

“Going to the net” is the key phrase there. Both of Shaw’s points came by standing in front of the net. He rebounded a Duncan Keith shot then touched a Brent Seabrook blast over to Jonathan Toews who buried it.

Those came on the power play, though his goal was scored seconds after it ended.

“It’s awesome,” Toews said. “The rookies are playing great hockey. We know that if they keep playing that way the goals are going to come for guys like Shaw, Hayes and even [Ben] Smith is playing good hockey out there. It’s making a huge difference for our team right now that all four lines are working and making things happen.”

Shaw and Hayes continue to steal the spotlight. Toews scored his 25 and 26th goals of the year but wasn’t even voted a star. That’s because the rookies are too good a storyline to ignore.

“We’re just energy type players, we’re just playing hard and hopefully its paying off,” Hayes said. “It gives you confidence and you just have to keep doing it every night.”

Hayes also is doing the whole “go to the net” thing. His goal came from what coach Joel Quenneville described one of the “nicest passes we’ve seen all year” from Andrew Brunette as Hayes attacked the Buffalo goal. He tapped one in to match Shaw with a goal each on the night.

“I don’t feel like we have a competition going, but I feel like if one scores the other one does,” Hayes said laughing. “He’s done it in like five straight so I have to keep it up.”

Actually it’s four straight games Shaw has a goal, but he’s doing more than scoring. Shaw played 20:01, second most among forwards. Now on both the power play and penalty killing units, Shaw’s stock has skyrocketed.

“Tonight was just one more solid game from both of them,” Quenneville said. “Shaw continues to be effective in a lot of ways.”

And that means good news for the Hawks' offense. And bad news for goalies around the league.