Sunday, January 10, 2016

Blackhawks vs. Avalanche 6-3 Win Recap

"Skille Competition"
by Patrick Stankus

The Blackhawks continued their home stand on Sunday night, as they played host to a divisional foe in the Colorado Avalanche. This marked the second time the Hawks had faced the Avs in the last 10 days, after they defeated them in overtime on New Year's Eve. Some of the pregame rumblings that make the most news were Bryan Bickell bitching about his lack of playing time. Tonight he would see as much ice time as all of us, as he would be a healthy scratch for this contest.

The first period started out slow, especially for the Blackhawks, who finally got their first shot on net just after the six minute mark. The Hawks seemed to wake up after Niklas Hjalmarsson had a terrible giveaway in his own zone, but luckily the Avs couldn't capitalize on. The fourth line would get the Hawks on the board first, as The Manshitter found some loose change in front of the net, and put the puck past Varlamov. In the final five minutes of the period, the #AK72Line would strike to increase the Hawks lead to 2-0. The Hawks would have a couple more chances as time wound down, but they couldn't add to the lead, and it would remain 2-0 after the opening frame.

As uneventful the first period was, the second period ended up being the opposite. Marian Hossa got the scoring going just over 90 seconds into the middle stanza to increase the Hawks lead to 3-0. That lead would prove to be short lived however. Just under four minutes later, Matt Duchene would get the Avs on the scoreboard to cut the lead to 3-1. Following Duchene's goal, the momentum turned in favor of the Avs, and they didn't waste time cashing in on it. Four minutes after his first goal, Matt Duchene added his second to slash the Hawks lead to 3-2. In the second half of the period, the Hawks would receive the game's first power play, and made sure to put a stop to the Avs momentum. Patrick Kane scored his second of the game to put the Hawks on top 4-2. That would also spell the end for Semyon Varlamov, as Kane's goal would chase him from the net. The scoring explosion in the second period would continue as Jonathan Toews blasted a slapper past Calvin Pickard to make it 5-2. That wouldn't be the last of the scoring. Late in the period, Marian Hossa added his second of the night to increase the lead to 6-2. Whew, its ok to catch your breath now, as that would be the score at the end of two periods.

The third period had a lot to live up to after that second period. As expected, the pace of the game slowed down, despite the Hawks opening up the period on the power play. After killing off the penalty, the Avs found some momentum, but thanks to the play of Corey Crawford, couldn't cut the Hawks lead. With 11 minutes remaining, Patrick Roy decided to be Mr. Asshole, and pulled Calvin Pickard for the extra attacker while down four goals. For the love of hockey's sake, the gimmick didn't work. After the Hawks killed off a Rasmussen penalty for interference, Roy continued to play musical goalies, and put Pickard back in. With just under five minutes remaining, Nathan MacKinnon fired a wrister past Crawford to cut the Hawks lead to 6-3. With the Avs net empty, the Hawks tried desperately to get Hossa the hat trick, but it was to no avail, and went onto win by the final of 6-3.

The Good
  • Brandon Mashinter scored. That is not a typo. To follow that opening goal, he also had a breakaway in the 1st period as well. If he would have buried that breakaway goal, Bryan Bickell may have never seen the ice again in Chicago.
  • The #AK72Line had another Harlem Globetrotter-esk shift in the first period, in which the puck found the back of the net. This time it was a Kane twisted wrister.
  • Much like the Brandon Mashinter line, this is not a typo either. Marian Hossa got the monkey off his back, and scored a goal for the first time in almost forever. An honorable mention goes to Hammer for the sweet setup. If one wasn't good enough for you, Hossa added a second goal late in the second period. I still say the Hawks got the Hossa over Havlat thing right.
  • Whatever problem the Hawks had facing Semyon Varlamov, they've seemed to solve it now. Tonight Varlamov yielded four goals before being replaced.
  • Whether its even strength or on the power play, that #AK72Line is a fun, fun line to watch. See Kane's second goal of the night.
  • Six goals in the second period. How's that for the "Make The Nets Bigger" crowd??
  • That paragraph on the second period was long enough, but Corey Crawford was HUGE in net during that period for the Hawks. He made a great post to post save on a 2 on 1, which was followed by Hossa's second goal of the night. Normally you see the big save lead to a goal happen in the playoffs. That was not the case tonight.
  • Tazer's goal was an absolute bomb, and a perfectly placed shot. Just a thing of beauty.
  • Wasn't it nice to see the balanced scoring tonight??? Finally.
  • Corey Crawford stopped 34 of 37 shots. By all means though, go ahead and criticize that you select few haters.
  • Thankfully Gate will be back on Tuesday, we know you all missed him.
The Bad
  • Niklas Hjalmarsson just about gave everyone a heart attack with a terrible giveaway in the Hawks zone in the 1st period. Luckily for Hammer, Nathan MacKinnon fanned on a pass, and everyone was able to get back in position before it became a problem.
  • After Marian Hossa's goal early in the second period, the Hawks were guilty of taking their foot off the gas. After Hossa made it 3-0, Matt Duchene himself made it 3-2 in a matter of four minutes.
  • I'm stretching here, but the Hawks were a little sloppy early in the third period, and took two penalties. With a big lead like they had, you'd like them to not take penalties like that, and give the opposing team the opportunity to get back in the game.

The Ugly
  • Here's the definition of "sluggish start." - Not registering a shot in the opening six minutes of a game.
  • Matt Duchene's second goal was a product of a pair of tired defensemen stuck on the ice. Its made even worse when that tired pair is already the slow tandem of TVR and Rozsival.
  • Patrick Roy and his coaching are a complete joke. His musical goalie act is tiring. And the pulling of the goalie with 11 minutes to go, well Mr. Roy, here's to ya.

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