The standing ovation was loud. The video tribute showed his finest Blackhawks moments and highlighted his personality.
Andrew Shaw’s return to the United Center was what everybody expected.
“It’s amazing obviously,” Shaw said of the tribute. “You know (I’ve) built some relationships over the years here. To see the support that’s still there, it’s pretty phenomenal. I hope they always support me as a hockey player.”
Hawks fans probably will, but their current players gave them reasons to cheer as well.
Patrick Kane’s highlight-reel second-period goal held up as the winner and the Hawks beat the Canadiens 3-2 in their final game before the annual circus trip. Gustav Forsling and Marian Hossa also scored for the Hawks, who have points in 11 consecutive games. Corey Crawford made 21 saves, helping the Hawks beat the league-leading Canadiens and hand them just their second regulation loss.
Playing in place of standout Carey Price, Glenview native Al Montoya stopped 32 shots for Montreal.
The Hawks got Artem Anisimov back after he missed Friday’s game against Washington with an upper-body injury, centering a line with Artemi Panarin and Hossa. But the Hawks took a 1-0 lead with 7:54 left in the first when Forsling’s slap shot from above the left circle beat Montoya for his first NHL goal.
Shea Weber and Andrei Markov scored in the second to give Montreal a 2-1 lead before Hossa tied the game at the 11:29 mark when Montoya left a rebound of a Nick Schmaltz shot. Then Kane did a Kane thing, circling the Montreal zone and skating around Jeff Petry before falling and shooting to beat Montoya with 3:37 left in the period.
“It was a different one, that’s for sure,” Kane said. “I don’t know if I’ve scored going to the ground like that, so it was pretty cool for sure.”
Shaw, who entered the game with six points and a plus-9 rating, had multiple prime chances but couldn’t beat Crawford. Arguably Shaw’s best chance came with about 6:40 left in the third when he was stopped right in front by a left leg save by Crawford.
“I saw the back of the net,” Shaw said. “Had to turn and find the puck and he made a great save on that one.”
Shaw’s game looked familiar, playing the same feisty style. He was physical and took up residence in front of the Hawks net on power plays, showing why he became a favorite of Joel Quenneville.
“You’re not going to find the same ingredient that Shawzy provides, whether it’s the game-to-game consistency of being an agitator, net-front presence on your power play, good in the room, good on the bench, good on the ice, smart hockey player, makes plays, brings that nastiness you appreciate and comes ready to play every game,” Quenneville said. “It’s what you want and he brings it. You gotta love him for it.”
During his five seasons with the Hawks, Shaw was an integral part of two Stanley Cup champions. But now it’s his job to do the same things for Montreal.
“It’s something you want to achieve,” Shaw said. “I try to bring my experience as much as I can on this team and help that way as well. We’ve got a great group of guys here and I think we’re capable of it.”
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