Chicago rookie Andrew Shaw outshined and outscored the star – Washington’s Alex Ovechkin – he was assigned to help check.
Shaw recorded his first two-goal game, and the Blackhawks defeated the Washington Capitals 5-2 on Sunday night for their third straight win.
Viktor Stalberg, Patrick Kane and Bickell also scored for Chicago, which is 7-1-1 in its last nine despite playing without captain and leading goal scorer Jonathan Toews.
The 20-year-old Shaw, who also picked up an assist, skated on a line with Dave Bolland and Bryan Bickell. The trio was matched most of the game against Washington’s line of Ovechkin, Brooks Laich and Marcus Johansson.
Ovechkin managed to score on a flashy play late in the second, and Mike Knuble connected for the Capitals, who lost their second game after four straight wins. But for the most part, the talented Washington forward – and his team – were contained.
”It’s a pretty big assignment,” Chicago coach Joel Quenneville said. ”Ovechkin’s been playing well, and their team has been dangerous lately. I thought that line was very good, and I thought (Shaw’s second) goal turned out to be a big goal for us as well.”
Shaw scored twice with Ovechkin on the ice, while the rookie was on the bench when Ovechkin connected.
Shaw has nine goals and six assists in his first 28 NHL games. He made his NHL debut on Jan. 5, and then scored five goals in his first eight contests. After cooling off, Shaw was returned to Rockford of the AHL on Feb. 18, but was recalled again on Feb. 29.
”There’s a lot of things in his game you admire,” Quenneville said. ”You like the way he competes, he’s got some sandpaper to his game, he’s got some nice things offensively that he does.”
Shaw was credited with the Blackhawks’ first goal, just 3:35 in, when Duncan Keith’s drive from the slot deflected off his leg. He got his second, making it 4-1 midway through the third, by plowing from behind the net and wrapping in a shot.
”I’ve never been a pretty goal guy,” Shaw said. ”I work hard and go to the net. They don’t ask how, they ask how many? Just get under the skin of the opponent, go to the dirty areas and good things will happen.”
And Shaw didn’t just let the score sheet talk for him.
”I was in his (Ovechkin’s) ear all game and kind of shut him up when I put my second one in,” he said.
Corey Crawford made 16 saves and in his second straight start. Projected to be Chicago’s top goalie this season, Crawford’s inconsistent play prompted Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville to start Ray Emery in five previous contests.
Michal Neuvirth stopped 24 shots for the Capitals, who didn’t dress No. 1 goalie Tomas Vokoun due to an undisclosed injury.
The Blackhawks dominated the first period, and took a 2-0 lead while outshooting the Capitals 12-3. Chicago took its 12 shots before Washington got its first, by defenseman Mike Green with 3:58 left.
”We probably showed them a little bit too much respect, not coming out with much jam in our game,” Knuble said. ”I look up at the scoreboard and we’re down 12-0 in the shots.
”We can’t come out like that this time for year. It can’t be acceptable the room.”
Washington entered the game with 78 points and clinging to eighth place – and the final playoff spot – in the Eastern Conference.
”They got off like that, put us on our heels and we couldn’t recoup,” Capitals coach Dale Hunter said.
Knuble cut it to 2-1 just 2:22 into the second, firing in a shot from the left circle following a turnover by Chicago defenseman Niklas Hjalmarsson.
But Kane made it 3-1 at 7:57 after Washington’s John Carlson couldn’t handle the puck deep in his zone. Kane fired into an empty net after to cap a quick passing play with Andrew Brunette and Marian Hossa.
”Our defense was turning the puck over and making bad decisions, and that was giving them great scoring chances,” Hunter said.
Shaw made it 4-1 with his second goal just under four minutes later. He skated out from behind the net to Neuvirth’s right, reached across the crease and slid in a shot.
Ovechkin beat Keith, Chicago’s top defenseman, with a slick move 1-on-1, then drove to the net and beat Crawford at with 5:32 left in the second to cut it to 4-2.
Bickell fired in an empty-net goal with 1:47 left.
Notes: All four officials wore No. 47 to salute linesman Dan Schachte, who worked his 2,009th and final game. Schachte, who has worked more games than any other American official in NHL history, appeared in his first game on Oct. 6, 1982, at the Chicago Stadium. … Vokoun, who has played in 47 games, is day-to-day. Braden Holtby was recalled from Hershey of the AHL to take Vokoun’s roster spot and backed up Neuvirth on Sunday. … Toews missed his 13th game with a concussion. Toews had resumed skating without contact, but then stopped last Thursday.