Honestly, I went back and forth on including this goal in the Top 25 list. It was big, but it wasn’t an OT winner, or series clincher. What eventually put it onto the list for me was the fact that the Anaheim series this year was arguably the most difficult series the Hawks have had to fight through in the past six years. Down 3-2 in the West Final and facing elimination at home, the Hawks jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the second period. The Ducks fought back to cut the lead to 3-2 late in the third, and were pushing for the tying goal. The Hawks were gassed and being shelled by the Ducks offense when Andrew Desjardins and Andrew Shaw broke off on a 2-on-1. Desjardins passed to Shaw who fought through a check and buried it top shelf on the backhand with 3:32 left in regulation to save the game for the Blackhawks, and force a Game 7.
This goal was large to me for one huge reason: It set the tone for Game 7. The Ducks had a chance to close out the Hawks in their own building in Game 6, had a chance to once again to score three quick goals to stun the Hawks in the UC, and advance to the Final without having to face a cursed Game 7 back home. They were all over the Hawks after making it 3-2, and Crawford and company were barely holding on. After a near miss by Maroon the Hawks broke out the other way, and Shaw like he always does muscled his way through a check and got to the front of the net to score on a perfect pass from fellow fourth-liner Desjardins. How perfect is that? A pair of fourth-liners combine to score a pretty goal to save the game and possibly the season. I think Shaw’s goal in Game 6 told the Ducks that the Hawks just weren’t going to be denied in 2015. Ducks had the flash, but the Blackhawks had the character and experience to get it done when it mattered most. They did just that in a Game 7 beat down in California to advance to the Stanley Cup Final.
For many people this goal by Shaw may not stick out in their memory, and that’s okay. I had trouble convincing myself that is was truly in the Top 25 in the team’s history. But looking back (two months?) and remembering that moment, and that series, I just felt like it was big enough to earn a spot. It was beautiful, and clutch. A rare combination.
#23 coming tomorrow…