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Chicago Blackhawks’ Andrew Shaw On Top Line Makes Sense

By Gail Kauchak
Apr 19, 2016; Chicago, IL, USA; St. Louis Blues left wing Jaden Schwartz (17) defends Chicago Blackhawks center Andrew Shaw (65) during the first period in game four of the first round of the 2016 Stanley Cup Playoffs at United Center. Mandatory Credit: David Banks-USA TODAY Sports
Apr 19, 2016; Chicago, IL, USA; St. Louis Blues left wing Jaden Schwartz (17) defends Chicago Blackhawks center Andrew Shaw (65) during the first period in game four of the first round of the 2016 Stanley Cup Playoffs at United Center. Mandatory Credit: David Banks-USA TODAY Sports /
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Chicago Blackhawks Smart For Putting Andrew Shaw On Top Line

All of Chicagoland was ecstatic Thursday night when the Chicago Blackhawks won in double overtime and extended the first-round Stanley Cup Playoffs series against the St. Louis Blues. But probably nobody was happier than Hawks’ forward Andrew Shaw. As we all know, Shaw was suspended one game for his antics in Game 4. His on-ice actions late in the third period certainly didn’t help the cause in that loss. And his absence made things that much more difficult for the Blackhawks in Game 5.

I’m sure it was very hard for Shaw to sit out the last game. His team was facing elimination. And based upon the salary cap situation, many are afraid Shaw could be a casualty. He is a restricted free agent, and may not be re-signed by the Chicago Blackhawks next year. If things had played out differently, Game 4 could have been Shaw’s last game as a Blackhawk.

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But the ’Hawks did win Game 5, and now Shawzy will have a chance to redeem himself as he plays in Game 6 tonight. In practice this morning, the forward line rushes looked like this:

Shaw-Toews-Kane

Panarin-Anisimov-Teravainen

Ladd-Kruger-Hossa

Panik-Desjardins-Weise

So Shaw will get the coveted spot on the top line alongside the nuclear option of Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane.  Coach Joel Quenneville likes to put Toews and Kane together when things get desperate, as they were on Thursday night.  Shaw will replace Richard Panik, who had that spot for Game 5, and earned an assist on Kane’s game-winning goal in the second overtime.

Shaw has been a very integral part of the Chicago Blackhawks success in this series.  He has 2 goals and 2 assists against the Blues so far.

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He has spent most of his time on the fourth line with

Andrew Desjardins

and

Marcus Kruger

. But Shaw has played on the first line in the past during the regular season.

I think Shaw could be very effective on that top line. He’s a very versatile player, and he has the ability to wreak havoc and create time and space for Toews and Kane to work their magic. Panik did an admirable job in that spot in Game 5, but Shaw is a better option now that he has returned.

Not only can Shawzy be the more effective player, but I’m sure he is hungry to get back out there. His energy and drive should give the Chicago Blackhawks a huge boost in this one. Just play smart! Play with that edge, but don’t do anything stupid!

Next: Kane's Overtime Winners Ranked

That’s right Shawzy, I’m talking to you. You got this! LET’S GO HAWKS!

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