NHL Playoffs 2012: Chicago Blackhawks Stay Alive, Shaw to Return in Game 6

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NHL Playoffs 2012: Chicago Blackhawks Stay Alive, Shaw to Return in Game 6
Christian Petersen/Getty Images

Five games, five overtimes.

Despite the Coyotes getting the first goal, the Blackhawks battled back to win in Phoenix Saturday night, and will play again this season. Third-period heroics by Nick Leddy and the eventual overtime winner by Jonathan Toews kept the Blackhawks alive, at least until Game 6.

Monday night will not only mark the return of the Blackhawks to the United Center, but also the return of rookie winger Andrew Shaw to the lineup. Shaw's three-game suspension for his hit on Phoenix goalie Mike Smith is finally over after tonight. For a bit too long, it seemed like the suspension would have kept him out until next season.

Where Shaw will fit back into the Blackhawks lineup remains to be seen. Since his return to the lineup as Shaw's replacement, Michael Frolik has netted a point per game, including his first goal since January. Someone has to go should head coach Joel Quenneville feel that Shaw gives the Hawks the best chance to win.

The most likely candidates to be dropped are veterans Brendan Morrison and Andrew Brunette, along with youngsters Brandon Saad, Jimmy Hayes and possibly even Viktor Stalberg. Granted, Stalberg did have the lone assist on the game-winning goal, but he also took four penalties in Game 5.

In all likelihood, Shaw will return to his role as one of Dave Bolland's wingers, most likely bumping Brendan Morrison from the checking line. Whether that pushes him to another line or press box will be a mystery until Coach Q has to hand in his lineups.

On defense, the Hawks tried out Sami Lepisto as the rotating door on the third pairing with Niklas Hjalmarsson. That third pairing was on the ice when Gilbert Brule tallied Phoenix's lone goal. Depending on Coach Q's evaluation of Lepisto's game play, he may or may not appear in Game 6.

Once again, the Blackhawks' lack of a true No. 3 and No. 6 defenseman kills them. At best, Nick Leddy and Johnny Oduya are No. 4 defensemen, and Hjalmarsson is a No. 5. Sean O'Donnell, Sami Lepisto, John Scott nor Dylan Olsen have seemed to take the final defense spot and perform successfully with it. Steve Montador seemed to be a good fit, but nobody knows when he'll be back to 100 percent.

At the end of the day the 'Hawks won, and Corey Crawford proved me wrong. This team has seemed to only be able to perform with their backs against the wall. For now, the trend holds true. By Monday night, we'll know whether or not to expect some real fun back in Phoenix.

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