January 10, 2016 / Game 43
United Center / Chicago, IL
The Colorado Avalanche came into Sunday evening’s game against Chicago sitting in a playoff position for the first time all season, but unfortunately ran into one of the hottest teams in the NHL. The Blackhawks took it to the Avalanche, showing off all of their talents in a 6-3 beat down at United Center.
In the first period, the Avs really came out early on and skated well with the Hawks, generating a few good scoring chances and a total of 11 shots on goal against Corey Crawford in the opening 20 minutes. However, they were not able to get on the scoreboard, and instead allowed the Blackhawks to get out in front early on. Chicago’s fourth line got the first goal, off a well executed face-off play in which forward Brandon Mashinter scored his second goal of the season at 8:27.
Later in the first, Patrick Kane scored his 24th goal of the season at 16:22 to give Chicago a 2-0 lead. The individual effort by Patrick Kane on the play really showed why he is one of the truly great offensive players in the NHL right now. The Blackhawks went up 3-0 early in the second period when the Avs were caught in a bad defensive situation — Chicago defenseman Niklas Hjalmarsson found an open passing lane to Marian Hossa who buried it past Semyon Varlamov.
At the 5:10 mark, the Avs were able to calm down a bit when Matt Duchene scored his 20th goal of the season. Gabriel Landeskog and Carl Soderberg set up a great play to enter the zone and then the puck was dropped to Duchene who sniped one above the glove of Crawford. Later, Duchene scored his second of the night on a play that will remind Avalanche fans of the old Peter Forsberg and Joe Sakic days [see ‘play of the game’ below]. Matt Duchene’s 21st goal of the season was assisted by Alex Tanguay and Nathan MacKinnon at 9:18 of the second period.
Everything was looking great for the Avalanche in terms of scratching their way back into the game, but that momentum was quickly picked back up by the Blackhawks, as Patrick Kane scored his second goal of the night — which put an end to Semyon Varlamov’s night. Calvin Pickard came in in-relief of Varlamov and allowed two more goals in the period. Chicago took a 6-2 lead into the second intermission.
The third period felt a bit like an exhibition because the score was so lopsided coming in, but the Avalanche were able to make it a bit closer at the end. Nathan MacKinnon scored his 15th goal of the season at 15:02 — assisted by Matt Duchene and Nick Holden.
Semyon Varlamov was not at his best in this game, allowing four goals on 20 shots before being pulled out. Calvin Pickard allowed two goals in the second period, but played actually quite well in the third period to at least keep the game at pace.
- Marian Hossa — 2 goals
- Patrick Kane — 2 goals
- Matt Duchene — 2 goals, 1 assist
PLAY OF THE GAME
Now, the Avalanche did not come away with a victory on this night, and if you look anywhere else you will likely see one of Patrick Kane’s goals or Jonathan Toews blast as the play of the game, but this play below was a fun one to watch if you are an Avs fan.
It all started when Nathan MacKinnon showed off his inner Peter Forsberg as he battled along the boards while keeping control of the puck. He then found Alex Tanguay in the slot, who patiently waited it out until Matt Duchene came around to the weak side. Once Duchene received the pass, he used a little Alex Tanguay type patience and then a Joe Sakic type pump fake to get Corey Crawford out of position, and then fired it into the wide open net for his second of the night and 21st goal of the season.
This power play goal by Patrick Kane — which was his second goal of the night — really popped the momentum that the Avalanche were building. Right after Duchene scored twice to get the Avs back within one goal, Kane scored to give the Blackhawks a two-goal lead again.
BY THE NUMBERS
QUOTE OF THE GAME
“They were the better team tonight, they were skating well. Their best players had a great night … Our record on the road is good, we’ve been playing good hockey on the road. Tonight we just played against a team that played really well.”
-Head coach Patrick Roy
Not the end of the world for the Avalanche, as the Blackhawks truly are among the NHL’s elite teams and are on a heater at the moment, winning now seven in a row. Colorado now officially falls out of the 8th and final playoff spot with this loss because of the Predators having a game-in-hand.
It’s a tough loss to be handed, losing by a score this bad to a team that they usually play so well against, but they simply cannot afford to hang their heads after one tough loss. The Avs have worked so hard to get back into this race, and they need to just move on and get back to work when they return back home this week.
Colorado will come back home for a matchup against the Tampa Bay Lightning on Tuesday, January 12th. Puck will drop at Pepsi Center at 7:00pm MT.