CHICAGO -- With 15 years of age and 10-plus seasons of NHL experiences differentiating them, Chicago Blackhawks second-year forward Andrew Shaw knew to listen closely when 36-year-old teammate Michal Handzus recently took him off to the side to share some advice.
Shaw had allowed his emotions to get away from him in Game 3 of the Western Conference semifinal series against the Detroit Red Wings. He compiled 14 penalty minutes, which included a 10-minute misconduct in the game’s final minute. He regretted his actions nearly immediately and felt he let his team down.
Handzus saw Shaw needed a pep talk and made a point of speaking with him about walking the necessary line in playoff hockey of standing up for himself and going too far.
“Handzus sat down and had a good talk with me,” Shaw said. “You got to control your emotions. There’s good times and bad times to go out there and give it your all or keep your hands down and eat a punch instead of giving one.”
Shaw has picked his times more wisely in the Blackhawks’ past two games, and he was rewarded for it on Saturday. Shaw matched a career high with two goals and went penalty-free in the Blackhawks’ 4-1 win over the Red Wings in Game 5 at the United Center.
Shaw has continued to tussle with the Red Wings over the past two games, but he’s also shown he can be disciplined enough to step away from a scuffle.
“I’m not going to jinx myself,” Shaw said. “I’ve been walking that line pretty good the last two games here. I got to keep walking that line on the right side and move forward.”
Being on the right side Saturday gave Shaw the chance to contribute offensively. On his first goal, Shaw was standing in front of the net on a power play and deflected a shot by teammate Duncan Keith past Red Wings goaltender Jimmy Howard. It was the Blackhawks’ first power-play goal since the first period of Game 1.
“Howard’s a great goalie,” Shaw said. “When he sees puck, he’s going to stop it. We just tried to create as much havoc as we could in front of the net. It worked to our advantage. We finally got the power play going. If felt great there.”
Shaw added a second goal when he came from behind the net and knocked in the rebound off teammate Viktor Stalberg's shot to put the Blackhawks ahead 4-1 in the third period. It was Shaw’s third goal of the playoffs.
Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville was pleased with Shaw’s all-around effort in Game 5.
“He plays with that energy you appreciate, and he’s a competitive kid,” Quenneville said. “He finds that line. He’s smart in a lot of ways. You love that tenacity and willingness to travel in front of the net and hang around. He’s got a quick stick. He’s got some offensive skills, and he’s got good instincts on both sides of the puck.”