When Andrew Shaw took line rushes with Max Domi and Jonathan Drouin Thursday morning, I didn’t really know what to expect.
Shaw was pointless in nine games, a stretch that was interrupted with two games he missed for injury, and two others as a healthy scratch. It was a stretch that went back to the second game of the season.
Domi and Drouin were two players who were playing well despite a revolving door of wingers. Shaw would be another attempt to complete the line.
In the two games since the trio was put together, it just makes sense. Shaw has more than doubled his point total in the two games since, scoring three goals. His two goals on Saturday night against the Vegas Golden Knights were both important. Both goals tied the game, both at 2-2 and then at 4-4.
Shaw’s game is great when it’s simple, and with Domi and Drouin, his game is simple. He gets to go to the net, fish pucks out, and keep his stick on the ice. And when he gets opportunities, his skill level is high enough to be dangerous.
It’s funny how before, I couldn’t see how the line would have worked and now I can’t see any combination that works better. They won’t score 1.5 goals a game for the rest of the season, but it seems like a line that will work more often than not.
It may seem weird that a player who was a healthy scratch is now playing with the NHL’s seventh-leading scorer, but that’s what forward depth does. The Canadiens are dealing with injuries and they always had more quality forwards than they could dress when fully healthy.
Shaw has proven for his entire career that he can get it done when playing with skilled players. In the Canadiens top-nine approach, he’s clearly found his place.