We all knew Andrew Shaw would play a vital role in the Stanley Cup Final, but there weren’t many who thought he’d make such a big impact as early as he did.
The Blackhawks forward was one of Chicago’s best players in its 4-3 triple-overtime win in Game 1 of the Cup Final on Wednesday night before being credited with the game-winner on what had become Thursday morning.
Shaw, like many of the game’s great pests, showed he has a knack for being in the right place at the right time when a Michal Rozsival shot from the point hit Brandon Bollig before glancing off of Shaw and by Tuukka Rask for the game-winner.
For Shaw and the Blackhawks, it was the perfect end to the agitator’s busy night. Shaw toed that “line” all night long, and he stayed consistent with that even in his postgame interview.
“We knew it wasn’t going to be pretty at this point,” Shaw told NBC’s Pierre McGuire during an on-ice interview. “It was a great shot, a great set up, [expletive], it was unbelievable. All the guys, we deserved this. It was a great battle for us.”
Shaw made his presence felt all night, and he did so in a fearless fashion. Despite standing only 5-foot-11 and weighing 165 pounds, Shaw went after Bruins captain Zdeno Chara all night long. The Blackhawks forward didn’t care about giving up a foot to the gargantuan Chara, as the two did some pushing and shoving that led to Shaw drawing a high-sticking penalty on Chara in the second period.
It was a penalty that may or may not have been helped along with some extra mustard on the snap of Shaw’s head.
“We know he’s an agitator,” Bruins coach Claude Julien said. ” We know he’s good at embellishing, too, at times. We know all that stuff. We’ve done our research.”
Unsurprisingly, Shaw fully embraces the role. That was evident as he was running around in the second period trying to goad Chara and also getting under the skin of Bruins forward David Krejci by swinging his leg at Krejci in the corner during the second period. You could certainly say Shaw was out there irritating the Bruins, which Shaw would accept as praise.
“I take it as a compliment,” Shaw said. “It’s how my game has developed through my career. It’s what’s got me here. I got to stick to it, just compete and work to the best of my abilities.”
The Bruins may have done their research, but Shaw definitely did his job in Game 1 and then some.