- The Washington Times - Sunday, March 18, 2012

CHICAGO — Alex Ovechkin has more three-point games in his NHL career than Andrew Shaw has years on this earth. But that didn’t stop the Chicago Blackhawks rookie from chirping the Washington Capitals’ superstar on Sunday.

Charged with shutting down Ovechkin along with checking linemates Bryan Bickell and David Bolland, Shaw not only succeeded on the defensive end but outproduced him with two goals and an assist.

“I was in his ear all game,” Shaw said of Ovechkin. “I kind of shut him up when I put my second one in.”

Shaw, who at 20 years old had seven goals in 27 games coming into Sunday’s game at United Center, wasn’t content with letting his game do the talking. Content in the gnat role, he tried to knock Ovechkin off his game.

Save for a highlight-reel goal that made it feel like 2008 for a couple minutes, Ovechkin wasn’t much of a factor.

He was on the ice for three goals against, counting Bickell’s empty-netter. Shaw said Ovechkin chirped back but not much. When he did speak up, the Blackhawks answered.

“I think after their first goal, he said something like, ‘OK, now we’re back in this game,’  Shaw recalled. “And then I think we scored next shift.”

It was a few shifts later, but Patrick Kane also showed a take-over-the-game ability that Ovechkin lacked in the Caps’ 5-2 loss.

“He’s a special player. He can really play,” coach Dale Hunter said of Kane, whom he coached with the London Knights of the Ontario Hockey League. “He really can stick handle and he creates stuff for the rest of his teammates.”

Shaw enjoyed the night of his young career, too. Hunter was familiar with the forward from three years in the OHL.

“He’s a hard-working kid and he knows his role. Hard work, you get rewarded with a couple goals,” Hunter said. “The work ethic’s there. When you have work ethic, you’re going to get better as a player.”

Work ethic for that entire line, led by another Hunter disciple in Bolland, was one of the keys to the Blackhawks handing the Capitals a second straight loss.

“The checking line there, David Bolland’s line, was very good,” Hunter said. “When they score, you’re going to win then.”

• Stephen Whyno can be reached at swhyno@washingtontimes.com.

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