When the Western Conference finals resume Wednesday night at the United Center, Blackhawks winger Andrew Shaw is likely to be back on the ice.
Shaw, who always adds extra energy, has been out with a lower-body injury since Game 1 of the second round, when he took a big hit from Minnesota defenseman Clayton Stoner.
"We'll see," coach Joel Quenneville said when asked if Shaw is ready to return. "We'll put him in practice (Tuesday) in the full group, make an assessment tomorrow. He's made some real good progress the last few days. He felt pretty good today."
Already in good shape as they look to become the first team to win back-to-back Stanley Cups since the Detroit Red Wings in 1997-98, Shaw's eventual return figures to push the Hawks to an even higher level.
"He brings a real nice element to our team," Quenneville said. "He's helped our power play along. He scores big goals for us. He has that tenacity. Good in the puck area. Got some skill. Real competitive guy."
Two of the NHL's leading scorers in the playoffs are the Blackhawks' Marian Hossa and the Kings' Marian Gaborik.
They are longtime friends and neighbors back home in Slovakia. But throughout the Western Conference finals, they are rivals.
"We knew each other when we were real young," Hossa said of Gaborik. "My brother grew up with Marian because they are the same age, three years younger than I am. When I was younger, I used to go watch their games when they played as young kids. Marian was always the one who was scoring goals. My brother was the passer.
"Now, we are neighbors. We live on the same street and we hang out in the summer together. Obviously, we've got lots to talk about every time we see each other.
"Right now we're at the point where we're not going to talk for two weeks. We try to do our business on the ice. When everything is over, we'll go back to friendship."
We're No. 1:
In the first game of the Western finals Sunday, the Blackhawks' top line of center Jonathan Toews and wingers Marian Hossa and Bryan Bickell got the best of Los Angeles' No. 1 line -- center Anze Kopitar and wingers Marian Gaborik and Dustin Brown.
Toews had 1 goal and another overturned, and Hossa had 2 assists.
The Kings' best line didn't have a point, and Kopitar, who leads the NHL in postseason scoring with 19 points, didn't even have a shot.
"It's a big challenge, obviously," Hossa said. "Their first line is really, really productive. They've got top players, top scorers in the first line. You want to make sure you know where they are on the ice. I think in Game 1 we did a pretty good job. They created some chances, but Crow (goalie Corey Crawford) was great for us."
More Crawford love:
Corey Crawford is on top of his game again during the playoffs, and his 1.90 goals against average is the best among NHL goaltenders.
Niklas Hjalmarsson is not surprised.
"I've played with Crow ever since I got here my first year," Hjalmarsson said. "Even in the minors, I played with him down there a couple years, too. I know exactly how he works. One thing about him that's huge is the way that he approaches big games and big challenges.
"Always when we have big games, even when we were down in Rockford, he always played his best games when it mattered most. That's what I think is the most important quality with a goalie, to be able to play the best when it matters the most.
"In that category, I don't think there are a lot of other goalies in this league that are better than Corey."