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Blackhawks stay hot in 5-2 win over Washington

Mar 18, 2012, 10:49 PM EDT

Chicago Blackhawks right wing Marian Hossa, of Slovakia, celebrates with Andrew Shaw (65) after Hossa scored against the Nashville Predators in the first period of an NHL hockey game Saturday, Jan. 21, 2012, in Nashville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey) AP

Andrew Shaw had the best game of his young NHL career and Chicago improved to 7-1-1 in their last nine games as they earned a 5-2 victory over the Washington Capitals.

Chicago set the tone of this game early with goals from Shaw and Viktor Stalberg within the first 7:44 minutes of play.

Washington’s Mike Knuble cut the Blackhawks lead in half with a goal early in the second period, but Patrick Kane answered back roughly five and a half minutes later. Kane has stepped up with captain Jonathan Toews (concussion) sidelined, and this goal extended his current point streak to five games.

Still, it was Shaw, not Kane, who was the hero of this contest. Shaw scored his second goal of the game midway through the second period and later added an assist. In Shaw, Chicago has a fine secondary scorer who is more than willing to throw his body around. This was the first time that Shaw scored twice or had three points in a single NHL game, but it definitely isn’t the only example of him contributing to a victory.

Alex Ovechkin scored a highlight-reel worthy goal late in the second period. He has now reached the 30-goal milestone in each of his seven NHL seasons, but his efforts were not enough to save Washington this time.

This is an unfortunate setback for the Capitals, who are is a very tight three-way race with the Winnipeg Jets and Buffalo Sabres for the final playoff seed in the Eastern Conference. It also further hurts their increasingly slim chances of dethroning the Florida Panthers in the race for the Southeast Division title. You can check out Ovechkin’s goal and all the highlights below.

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Washington is now 1-2-0 on their current road trip and things won’t get any easier for them as they’re scheduled to play in Detroit on Monday and Philadelphia on Thursday. They will then come home for a critical matchup against the Jets on Friday.

From Chicago’s perspective, this win helps to push them out of reach from the teams scrapping by for a final playoff spot in the Western Conference. The Blackhawks currently hold the sixth seed and are firmly in control of their own destiny. They still have a chance to steal fifth or even fourth place from the Nashville Predators and Detroit Red Wings respectively.

  1. blomfeld - Mar 18, 2012 at 11:29 PM

    THANK YOU …

    We LA Kings fans are grateful that you’ve put this human “junk” Ovechkin in his rightful place tonight ! … just as we’re grateful for the post-season “work” which you’ve done on the Canucks the last three years. “Yours” is an excellent team with a glorious and highly accomplished past and therefore I “hope and pray” that we don’t come to meet on the field of battle this spring ! … God willing, it won’t be so …

  2. wheresdapuck - Mar 19, 2012 at 6:20 AM

    We have another Caps game where the blueliners could not clear the puck from the Hawks’ forechecking and could pass the puck with any accuracy through the neutral zone. Again, just way too many puck turnovers in the Caps defensive zone. Hunter needs to wake them up or they will be playing golf this time next month!

  3. comeonnowguys - Mar 19, 2012 at 9:36 AM

    I know it sounds crazy, but I’d rather the ‘Hawks go in as the sixth seed than have a dogfight with either Detroit or Nashville just to get to the second round.

    • Chip Caray's Eyebrows - Mar 19, 2012 at 10:56 AM

      I’m with you. Especially if Dallas finds a way to come out of the Pacific.

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