Maybe on April 9th when the two teams meet again, the Blackhawks and Avalanche can spare us three hours of our lives and just take the ice, have a shootout, and call it a night.
For the third time in as many meetings, the Hawks and Avalanche needed a shootout to determine who would receive the extra point. In each tilt, the home team was the recipient of the second point. Tonight was no different.
The opening period was the most even-keeled of the night. The two teams traded quality chances back-and-forth. Neither team had a distinct advantage over the other. Cristobal Huet and Craig Anderson took turns making key saves to keep their team within striking distance.
The Avalanche struck first with a goal just before the ten minute mark when Kyle Cumiskey’s shot from the blue line went wide of Huet and laid behind the cage. Cumiskey was the first player on the puck and just flung it towards the net. The puck bounced off the back of Huet’s leg and into the net.
Five minutes later after the Hawks killed off their second penalty of the period, Patrick Kane, Jonathan Toews, and Patrick Sharp found themselves reunited. With the puck just a couple feet above the goal line and Toews providing a slight screen on Anderson, Kane picked out the top corner and roofed it over Anderson’s shoulder.
In the second period, the ice was heavily tilted in the Avalanche’s favor. Kris Versteeg taking two silly penalties certainly helped tip the scales.
Just a minute after Colorado killed off their lone penalty of regulation, Andrew Ladd coughed up the puck just inside his own blue line. The Avalanche came back down the other way with numbers. After a mass hysteria of confusion in front of Huet and no one being able to locate the puck, Wojtek Wolski found before it anyone else and slid a backhand into the open net.
Colorado swarmed the Hawks net after that, getting a lot of solid opportunities to extend their lead. Huet turned them away each time to keep the score 2-1.
As much as Colorado controlled the second, the favor shifted in the third with the Hawks taking control. After killing off a penalty to open the period, two odd-man rushes by Kane was a foreshadowing of things to come.
Minutes later, Cam Barker did the best Bobby Orr impression of his career. He chipped a loose puck past a Colorado defenseman in the neutral zone and came in on a 2-on-1 with Ben Eager. Barker looked off the defender, slyly slid the puck to his forehand, and roofed it over Anderson’s shoulder before he ran out of room.
For the second game in a row, the Hawks owned the third period. In total, they racked up 15 shots while only giving up 3.
Unfortunately, they never solved Anderson again so the game went to overtime.
With thirty seconds left in the extra frame, Wolski went off for a penalty and the Hawks had an ideal chance to end it before the shoot-out. The puck never left Colorado’s zone and each player on the ice for the Hawks had an opportunity to win the game.
Perhaps it was poetic justice or maybe it was sheer coincidence, but the Hawks never found the back of the net and once again, the Hawks and Avalanche went to a shootout.
Jonathan Toews rifled a shot in between Anderson’s legs, Patrick Kane was stopped trying to do the same thing, and Patrick Sharp finally hit the net on a breakaway.
Wolski hit the post, Marek Svatos roofed a backhander, and Darcy Tucker was denied.
And that was that.
—In their first meeting, Toews faked his patented five-hole shot and went forehand-backhand to beat Anderson in the shootout. This time, Anderson was visibly caught in between once Toews brought it over the blue line, and he buried it between Anderson’s legs.
–Is it too much to ask Pat Foley to stop announcing what every player’s +/- for the past week is? While +/- is still somewhat useful, it is clearly flawed. I know old-timers like Foley still like to use it as some barometer for who’s a good player and who isn’t, but let’s move past it. The most indicting evidence of the stat came when Foley announced how Campbell has been a minus player in the past 5 games and his partner, Ham Sandwich, has been at least a +1 in every game during that stretch.
–Speaking of stats that need tweaking, I really think the way power plays are tallied needs to be re-thought. On paper, the Hawks went 0-for-2. Their second power play only lasted 30 seconds though and it counts just as much as their first which lasted the whole two. Maybe it’s just me, but that seems a little off.
–The Hawks hit two posts in the first. The Avalanche hit two in the third (not counting the one in the tiddlywinks competition). Move along, no need to overanalyze that.
*On the Farm*
—The Belleville Bulls and Oshawa Generals skated to a 1-1 tie before they needed a shootout to decide the winner. Shawn Lalonde was the first shooter and scored for the Bulls. It wasn’t enough, though, as the Generals won the shootout 2-1. During regulation, Lalonde was held off the scoresheet.