RECAP: Avalanche blank Blackhawks in 5–0 beatdown

  

The Colorado Avalanche came into the United Center to face the Chicago Blackhawks on Thursday night. The Blackhawks were coming in having dropped their two previous contests in brutal overtime defeats against the Winnipeg Jets and Detroit Red Wings. The Avalanche had dropped a tight contest in Toronto before coming back home to easily handle the Dallas Stars. The only lineup change for the Avalanche in this game was Justus Annunen taking over the crease from Alexandar Georgiev. The Blackhawks’ lineup stayed the same as in their loss to the Red Wings on Sunday.

First period

Both sides traded shots early on, with both goalies proving up to the task early. With five an a half minutes to go, the Avalanche won a face-off in the offensive zone. Mikko Rantanen ripped a shot that beat Petr Mrazek, but not the post, keeping things at a draw. Just a few minutes later, at the 17:58 mark of the period, Jack Johnson led a 2-on-1 break into the Blackhawks’ zone. He got the puck over to Zach Parise, who put the puck past Mrazek to put the Avalanche up 1–0.

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Second period

The second period was all Avs. Connor Bedard took a penalty on an interference call, putting the Avalanche on the power play. They would use all of the man advantage, finally putting one home with two seconds left on the power play. Ross Colton stuck with the puck, and managed to put it past a sprawling Mrazek, 2–0 Avalanche. The Avs just kept rolling. Just 42 seconds later, Ryan Johansen faked a shot, and got Mrazek to bite hard. He went down, and Johansen got the puck around him to Parise, who deflected it home, 3–0 Colorado.

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They would just sneak in another before the period ended. Often, just getting pucks on net can lead to great things. Devon Toews ripped a shot from between the circles and beat Mrazek glove side, putting the Avs up 4–0 just before the end of the period.

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Third period 

The Avalanche continued to dominate in the third period. They outshot the Blackhawks 13–6 and definitely got the better of the scoring opportunities as a whole. Nathan MacKinnon felt that he needed to get in on all the scoring that was going on this game. On what seemed like a harmless clear from the defensive zone by Cale Makar, the puck found its way up the side boards to MacKinnon. He turned on the jets and ripped the puck short side on Mrazek, putting the Avalanche up 5–0, which is how the game would end.

Analysis

The Blackhawks look like they still have a lot of work to do in fielding a competitive team. They needed improvements in every area to compete against a powerhouse offensive team like the Avalanche. The Avalanche look like they are ready to roll the rest of the season. Parise seems like a great pickup, as he might not be the same player he used to be, but he is proving that he can still contribute even on a team as deep as the Avalanche.

The Blackhawks play next at home against the Columbus Blue Jackets on Saturday night. That game will be at 7 p.m. CST on NBC Sports Chicago. The Avalanche are next up on Saturday afternoon at 4 p.m. MST against the Nashville Predators in Tennessee. That game will be available on Altitude.

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