The upstart Colorado Avalanche visited the UC last night—with the home team Blackhawks trying desperately these days to figure out how to actually win a hockey game.
The Hawks’ lines and pairings were:
Brandon Saad – Jonathan Toews – Patrick Kane
Vinnie Hinostroza – Nick Schmaltz – Andreas Martinsen
Tomas Jurco – Artem Anisimov – Alex DeBrincat
Patrick Sharp – David Kampf – John Hayden
Anton Forsberg reclaimed the Hawk net after JF Berube emphatically answered “Oui” to the question: “can anyone be worse than Forsberg?”
The first 15 minutes-plus of the game were somewhat unremarkable. One highlight was massive Norwegian winger Andreas Martinsen in his Hawk debut, who put a thundering hit on Av defenseman Nikita Zadorov, knocking him out the game. Martinsen has size, willingness and he can skate, which may situate him well for a shot with the Hawks next season.
Brent Seabrook opened the scoring in this game at 4:15 on the power play with a bomb from the left point that beat a screened Semyon Varlamov, assisted by Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews. 1-0 Chicago.
While the shots were roughly even at that point, the Avs came on strong immediately afterward and finished the period with a 17-11 advantage in shots.
The Avs tied the game up on their own power play at 17:53, after a flurry of activity in front of the Chicago net. Anton Forsberg gave up a fat rebound in the slot, which got behind all four Hawk defenders who were collapsed down low. A fully screened Forsberg lost sight of the puck until it was deposited over his left shoulder by Alexander Kerfoot. 1-1.
Less than three minutes later, at 14:59, Av center Nathan McKinnon held the puck and drew Hawk defenders and enough attention from Forsberg before zipping a pass across the slot to a wide open Miko Rantanen at the right circle. The Hawk goalie had no chance, 2-1 Colorado.
For the next several minutes, the Hawks applied quite a bit of pressure on Varlamov, but could not solve the Colorado netminder.
At 7:20, Colorado capitalized on the power play again with Tyson Barrie putting a long shot past a partially screened Forsberg. Probably one Forsberg should have had. 3-1 Avs. And that was how the period ended.
In the final period, the Blackhawks jumped out to a huge 13-5 shot advantage, in an attempt to carve out a chunk of the Avalanche two goal lead, but were not able find a way to solve the Colorado goalie.
Instead, they gave up a long empty net goal after Joel Quenneville pulled his goalie with roughly three full minutes left in regulation. Funny note on the goal was Pat Foley comically saying, “Brent Seabrook SOMEHOW didn’t catch up to that puck.”
The Avs were not done there, though. With the Blackhawks running around with their heads up their behinds, Colorado was able to take advantage of the opportunity and added another insurance goal by Alexander Kerfoot (again), just for good measure.
- It is finally over. This loss ended the Blackhawks playoff “hopes” putting them officially to bed for the 2017-18 season. Now we can cheer for them to comically lose out the rest of the season and try to earn a higher draft pick.
- Duncan Keith did not have the best game of his career, but he was able to keep up with the blazing speed of Nathan MacKinnon. That is pretty good, considering that Keith is a dozen years older and having a rough season.
- It has gotten to a point where Blackhawks games are just a collection of bad moments. Once again, they took a 1-0 lead and then proceeded to give up five unanswered goals.
- The teams combined for 85 total shots on net, which just goes to show the “defense optional” nature of this game.
Game recap brought to by the law firm of “Statler, Waldorf, Jaeckel, and Osborn.”