After several games in which nothing seemed to go right for the Chicago Blackhawks, the tide turned swiftly in Game 5, as the Hawks knocked off the Detroit Red Wings 4-1 and forced a game 6.
Andrew Shaw scored twice for the Hawks, and Jonathan Toews finally got off the skids and potted his first goal of the playoffs.
We’ll have plenty of coverage on the website in the coming days, but for now, here are Saturday’s Three Stars:
Third Star: Duncan Keith
With so many good performances to choose from, Keith’s is worth highlighting first. Not only did he have two assists on the night (both coming on the power play), but he also blocked two shots and was instrumental in helping the Blackhawks to right the ship on the penalty killing side of things after their perfect run ended in Game 4.
Keith also deserves plaudits for his performance because of the way he helped the power play outside of his two assists. On the second tally by Toews, Keith made an excellent diving keep-in on a Wings clearing attempt, and kept the possession going. He also was able to help the team keep possession for well over a minute on the first power play goal of the game, and because of that ability at the point, the Hawks were able to put the Wings away and send the series back to Detroit.
Second Star: Andrew Shaw
Shaw was on the tip of everyone’s tongue when speculation began to run rampant about who should be benched after the Hawks lost Game 3, but he came to play in a big way in Game 5 for the Hawks.
On his first goal of the night, he camped out in front of the net after a very long possession by Chicago, and when Keith fired a shot from the point, Shaw was able to get a stick blade on it and deflect it in past Detroit goaltender Jimmy Howard.
On the second goal, Shaw saw that Howard had come too far out of his crease to play a shot attempt, and rather than getting fancy and trying to deke around Howard, Shaw simply kept the puck on his forehand and potted the easy tap-in tally.
Both of these plays required a certain offensive finesse to execute, and after being in the doghouse of many fans, Shaw has made his way back into the penthouse.
First Star: Jonathan Toews
Toews only had one goal and two shots in the hockey game, and he lost a majority of his faceoffs, but his performance in the first game after his epic meltdown in Game 4 was nothing short of excellent.
On his goal in the second period, Toews not only was getting to the front of the net to capitalize on rebounds, but he also showed some deft puck handling in the process. He ended up roofing a shot over Howard, and the United Center erupted in cheers as the captain ended his goalless streak.
If the Hawks are going to make a serious attempt at a comeback in this series, it is going to be on the backs of guys like Toews. He looked very comfortable with Patrick Sharp and Patrick Kane on his wings, and that has to be a positive sign moving forward as the team faces a stern test on Monday night.