by Patrick Stankus
Send a McRib to #Fatrick
With the final week of the regular season upon us, the Blackhawks started one final road trip out West on Tuesday night in Denver. The Hawks have already locked up home ice throughout the Western Conference Playoffs, so if you're looking for the definition of a meaningless regular season road trip, you found it this week. Joel Quenneville decided to give a few guys the night off, most notably Niklas Hjalmarsson, Duncan Keith, and Corey Crawford. That being said, we were treated to a pairing of Kempny and Rozsival tonight, and probably at least one other time this upcoming week. But whatever, these games mean nothing, so onto the practice that took place in Colorado tonight.
The first period looked exactly how you'd think it would look with one team looking ahead to the beginning of the Stanley Cup Playoffs next week. The Hawks were completely uninterested in playing in the opening frame. The Avs out shot the Hawks by a 16-3 margin, but Scott Darling was able to keep Colorado off the scoreboard. Both teams had a power play opportunity, but nothing came of either opportunity. All in all, the first period was a potential cure for anyone suffering from insomnia that wanted to try and go to bed at 8pm.
As boring as the first period was (and it was boring, trust me), the second period did not disappoint. Artemi Panarin opened the scoring, on the power play, twenty-eight seconds in after a nifty pass from Patrick Kane. The Hawks followed up Panarin's goal with two more goals in the second by Hartman, and Kruger. Yes, that Marcus Kruger who "never scores." With the game looking like it was all theirs, the Hawks fell guilty to taking their foot off the gas, and surprise, surprise, the Avs pounced on the opportunity presented to them. The Avs added two shorthanded goals, just over four minutes apart to cut the Hawks lead to one. As time wound down in the period, Scott Darling was able to preserve the Hawks lead at 3-2 after forty minutes of play.
To begin the third period, the Avs were looking to carry over the momentum they had built in the second half of the second period. Early on, it was mission accomplished by the Avs. Scott Darling was under attack from the moment the puck was dropped to start the third. The writing was on the wall. It was only a matter of time before the Avs tied the game. Finally, almost six minutes in, the Avs did just that. Throughout the period, the Hawks only had a couple of chances, but none were of the quality chance kind. The Avs however, kept their assault one the Hawks net going during the entire period. The only reason the Hawks had any chance of winning was due to the man in net. Darling was able to fend off the Avs in regulation, and get the game to overtime. The game winning goal didn't take long in overtime. Colorado had the only good chance, thanks to a Brian Campbell turnover, and they made the most of it. Erik Johnson scored just under two minutes in to give Colorado the 4-3 overtime win. Next up for the Hawks is a trip to Southern California, and a date with the Ducks in Anaheim on Thursday night.
- Artemi Panarin scored his 30th goal of the season in the second period, to give him back to back thirty goal seasons. The pass to setup Panarin from The Garbageman was a thing of beauty. I just hope the fax machine survived the attack from the McBaseball bat after that goal.
- Marcus Kruger scored his fifth goal of the season on a breakaway in the second period, following a terrific stretch pass from Michal Rozsival. I'm shocked Rozsival was able to make a pass like that considering how greasy his hands must be after eating all that shrimp of late in the press box.
- Despite the fact he gave up four goals, Scott Darling was good in net for the Hawks. He made forty-seven saves in the loss, and was under attack all night. As I said before the game, #PrayForDarling.
- I got nothing else. I have to rest my fingers, and preserve my energy for the playoffs. Especially since I'm recapping the last two games of the season. That's right, we're closing out the season with a hat trick of #FatCaps!!!!
- Welcome to the last week of the regular season, where we get treated to line combos of Jurco-Desjardins-Hinostroza, and pairings of Rozsival and Kempny because the Blackhawks have their position in the standings locked up.
- The Blackhawks basically slept through the entire first period, and were outshot 16-3.
- The Blackhawks struggled at the dot tonight. They were destroyed 65%t to 35%.
- I pray to God, I never see Brian Campbell and Michal Kempny out on the ice at the same time. I'm sorry, but both of them are a heart attack waiting to happen in the defensive zone.
- The sloppy, careless play of the Hawks was on full display tonight. The Hawks took four penalties, three in a row actually, to end the game.
- During the pregame show, Steve Konroyd mentioned the Scott Darling was "born and raised in the Joliet area." Excuse me Steve, but......
- I was expecting to see the goal Calvin Pickard gave up to Ryan Hartman, given up by Gate on Sunday night in his beer league.
- With a three goal lead in the second period, the Hawks took their foot off the gas, and the Avs rattled off two short handed goals in the final ten minutes.
- People are going to criticize Rozsival for Colorado's third goal, all while ignoring the fact Michal Kempny was completely oblivious to Mikhail Grigorenko coming down the slot, leaving him wide open. I guess those kinds of plays don't happen in the KHL.
- Fifty-one shots for the Avalanche tonight. Let me repeat that. Colorado had FIFTY-ONE SHOTS.