Chicago Blackhawks vs Colorado Avalanche Recap

  

The Blackhawks returned home from a brutal road trip to meet the Colorado Avalanche, Tuesday night. In a bit of a role reversal, it was the Blackhawks that were the team suffering through the slog of a lost season, while the Avalanche were attempting to climb up the standings and securely plant themselves into playoff position.

In the continuous shuffling of PTSD riddled goalies, Joel Quenneville decided that Jean-Francois Berube was the sacrificial goalie of the evening. The lineup will be pretty static for the remainder of the season, with limited call-ups available and Jan Rutta fighting injury.

These were the Blackhawks starting lines:
Brandon SaadJonathan ToewsPatrick Kane
Alex DeBrincatNick SchmaltzVinnie Hinostroza
Tomas JurcoArtem AnisimovAnthony Duclair
Patrick SharpDavid KampfMatthew Highmore

Duncan KeithConnor Murphy
Erik GustafssonBrent Seabrook
Carl DahlstromJordan Oesterle

Surprisingly enough, the Blackhawks had their first scoring chance under a minute into the game, at the hands of Connor Murphy (surprise). Unfortunately for the home team, Semyon Varlamov was able to narrowly keep the deflected puck from sneaking under him and into the net.

A few more Blackhawks solid scoring chances in the first five minutes of the period eventually resulted in the opening goal of the night. Newly extended defenseman Erik Gustafsson picked up a puck on the half wall and attempted to hit an open Patrick Kane on the back door. The puck went off the skate of Avalanche defenseman Patrick Nemeth and past a surprised Varlamov.

Power plays for each team yielded no additional goals, so the teams headed into the first intermission with the Erik Gustafsson goal as the only one on the board. The Blackhawks led the Avalanche in shots on net, 12-9, as well.

Overall, it was a period mostly spend in the Colorado zone, which was a significant improvement over the weekend.

The Blackhawks pressure continued in the second period right where it left off in the first. Hawks forward Brandon Saad had an excellent chance just seconds into the period but, again, Varlamov was able to narrowly hold the lead at only one goal.

Nick Schmaltz had a wonderful dangling toe drag move for a 1-on-1 chance with the Colorado goaltender, five minutes into the middle period, but shot the puck right into the goalie’s chest.

After the flurry of Blackhawks chances early in the second period, the tide then began to turn for the Avalanche, as they peppered the Blackhawks goalie with shots for most of the latter half of the middle period. Colorado tied the game on the power play, with under four minutes to play in the second period. Tyson Barrie controlled the puck on the cycle and was able to feed Nathan MacKinnon wide open across the Hawks zone. MacKinnon hesitated for a second but was still able the beat JF Berube pretty easily.

The Hawks seemed to have grabbed the lead back with just over a minute remaining in the period, but controversy struck. Patrick Kane made a spin-o-rama pass to the crease and the puck ended up in the net, but it was ruled as kicked into the net by Brandon Saad. The game remained tied heading into the second intermission as a result, with Colorado holding a lopsided 18-7 shot advantage.

The third period was generally even in shots, chances, and even late period power plays. The Blackhawks penalty kill unit, in particular, looked really impressive at a critical point of the game. Neither team was able to break the tie, so the game went to overtime

In overtime, the Blackhawks took all of nine seconds for Jonathan Toews to win the opening faceoff to Duncan Keith; who hit Patrick Kane with a pass; who then sent a lead pass back to Jonathan Toews. The Captain easily redirected the puck past Semyon Varlamov to end the game and give the Blackhawks something to celebrate about.

Pluses

  • Erik Gustafsson had a fire under his butt all night, and had a couple more solid chances to add to the score.
  • Chicago Blackhawks vs Colorado Avalanche Recap

  • It will be overlooked, but JF Berube had a great night. Fans are quick to pile on either goalie for having average-to-below-average games, but this should also be considered a goalie win. Saving 33 of 34 shots is above and beyond the call of duty.
  • Chicago Blackhawks vs Colorado Avalanche Recap

Minuses

    • Duncan Keith had a better game but was still struggling. He is clearly taking this season hard, and it frustrated. Once Jan Rutta is healthy, give the poor guy a night off.

Chicago Blackhawks vs Colorado Avalanche Recap

  • The goal replay/reversal is just getting more embarrassing with each day. If there is an angle that the NHL is seeing, which shows definitively that Brandon Saad kicked the puck towards the net and it did not hit the heel of the stick, we all deserve to see it. Otherwise, this was yet another in the long line of incorrect calls. I keep bringing it up, but if you are going to cry that the league needs more goals scored and you are going to pull 50/50 goals off the board, I have no sympathy. But, hey, bigger nets and smaller goalie gear will make a difference.  Even MJ is disgusted:

Chicago Blackhawks vs Colorado Avalanche Recap
 

Center Ice Forums Chicago Blackhawks vs Colorado Avalanche Recap

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  • #5916
    Jeff Osborn
    Keymaster

    The Blackhawks returned home from a brutal road trip to meet the Colorado Avalanche, Tuesday night. In a bit of a role reversal, it was the Blackhawks
    [To continue reading full article, click here: Chicago Blackhawks vs Colorado Avalanche Recap]

    @PuckinHostile on Twitter

    #5917
    CanOCorn
    Participant

    This year is so strange…while I understand there isn’t really a net front presence and many of the shots are coming from distance, I still feel the puck luck that this team has had this year is non-existent.

    Of course, in many ways, you can make your own luck, but these 50/50s seem to be going against them more than for them.  Goalies playing big games against them.  Goals that usually would go in being blocked or stopped. Just weird.

    Also noticed pass reception this year has been atrocious. Clean passes are happening at such a lower rate, or at least seems to be.
    Just an all-around odd year.

    #5918
    Jeff Osborn
    Keymaster

    A weird year, indeed, my friend. lol

    @PuckinHostile on Twitter

    #5926
    Breadbag
    Participant

    This year is so strange…while I understand there isn’t really a net front presence and many of the shots are coming from distance, I still feel the puck luck that this team has had this year is non-existent. Of course, in many ways, you can make your own luck, but these 50/50s seem to be going against them more than for them. Goalies playing big games against them. Goals that usually would go in being blocked or stopped. Just weird. Also noticed pass reception this year has been atrocious. Clean passes are happening at such a lower rate, or at least seems to be. Just an all-around odd year.

     

    Really agree with you about the puck luck and passing.  Way too often it seems like a simple pass jumps right off the blade of the receiving player’s stick.

    #5930
    Under Qs moustache
    Participant

    There is an old hockey saying,”When the puck isn’t going in the net, you’re not working hard enough.” That would apply this year. In recent years past the Hawks could play 35 to 45 minutes a night and win most if not all the games home and away. Seldom did they have to or choose to play all 60 minutes. Now the NHL talent base has thinned considerably on this team, and the old habits of getting behind or taking the foot off the gas with the lead is haunting them in the win column.

    Puck luck is only significant when you’re contending, this year’s team is not a contender. The puck luck if reversed, would only cover some more obvious holes or over pay a UFA based on a small body of work. If the Hawks made the playoffs, Nashville would eat them alive. The league might step in after 3 games and do a mercy killing!

    More questions than answers for next year. This team may not return to greatness for awhile

    #5931
    CanOCorn
    Participant

    I completely agree…this is still not a great team.

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