CHICAGO - It's not too difficult for the Chicago Blackhawks' Andrew Shaw to get room to maneuver and shoot when he's playing on the same line with Patrick Kane.
Kane's one of the most creative players in the NHL. When he has the puck, he draws defenders like a starlet draws paparazzi. And that leaves Shaw alone with his thoughts and, when Kane sends it his way, the puck.
That's what happened in the third period of a tie game with the Dallas Stars on Monday night. Kane barreled into the Stars zone, drawing both defensemen and a forward in his direction. Shaw drifted to the right. Kane whipped the puck his way. Shaw whipped it past Dallas goaltender Richard Bachman for the lead in the league-leading Blackhawks' 5-2 victory over the Stars.
The outcome extended Chicago's winning streak to six games, and they are 8-0-1 in the last nine games. The Stars' five-game winning streak was stopped.
In not getting a needed victory, the Stars fell into 10th place, two spots out of the playoffs in the Western Conference with 45 points and six games left to play. Minnesota, Detroit and Columbus have 47 points.
"A guy with great hands like that, he's a star player and everyone knows it," Shaw gushed about Kane. "He pulls guys to him and creates space for the other guys on the ice. It was a great pass by him."
Shaw's playing with Kane and Marcus Kruger because he has grit and a big shot. His wrist shot from the right circle 4:31 into the third was unstoppable.
"I had a feeling he was going to shoot it, but I didn't see the release and it just snuck through barely the five-hole there," Bachman said. "He put it in a perfect spot."
It was also timely. The Stars' Jamie Benn had scored the second of his two goals 1:24 before.
"It was definitely a nice goal to score on the ensuing shift," Hawks coach Joel Quenneville said. "They'd gotten some momentum. (Benn's) was a big goal for them at the time, and (Shaw's) was obviously a huge goal for us."
The Hawks have scored the big goal all season, so Shaw's goal, followed by tallies by Niklas Hjalmarsson and Marian Hossa, the latter into an empty net, wasn't unexpected. But the goals came on a night when the Hawks could have let down against a desperate Dallas team.
"It's about regrouping more than anything else," Dallas coach Glen Gulutzan said.
Hossa had two assists along with his empty-net goal. Jonathan Toews (team-leading 21st) and Viktor Stalberg opened the scoring for Chicago, but Benn scored the first of his two 1:58 after Stalberg's goal. Benn's second, 3:07 into the third period, tied it 2-all. Then Kane drew a crowd and Shaw, a solid role player, stepped up.
The Hawks held Dallas to 18 shots, giving goaltender Ray Emery a relatively easy 16th win against one loss.
"You focus on the details," Toews said of the team's relentless consistency. "We're conscious of those details. It shows the maturity of every guy in this locker room. We're never satisfied and we don't care where we are, on the road or at home."
That's how you get to 70 points and 33 wins only 42 games into a season.
Notes: Dallas' five-game winning streak entering the game was built after the trade deadline and the departure of Jaromir Jagr, Brenden Morrow and Michael Ryder. ... The Stars have Vancouver, St. Louis and Los Angeles, all scrapping for playoff position, in the next three games. ... Chicago forward Patrick Sharp missed his second straight game after a tweak to his injured shoulder against Detroit on Friday. ... Dallas lost right wing Alex Chiasson to an upper-body injury in his first shift of the second period. The Stars already had Lane MacDermid (upper body) and goaltender Kari Lehtonen (lower body) sidelined -- Lehtonen for the third game in succession. ... Hobey Baker Trophy winner Drew LeBlanc, signed by the Blackhawks to a one-year contract on Friday, was in the building but did not dress. "Hopefully we get a chance to get him in there," Quenneville said before the game. LeBlanc can't play in the playoffs because he was signed after the trading deadline. ... There was a moment of silence before the game to honor those killed and injured in the bombing at the Boston Marathon.