Blackhawks 3, Avalanche 2 (SO)

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.

Quickies  

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.

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17 Responses to Blackhawks 3, Avalanche 2 (SO)

  1. Jim says:

    Kane seems like a natural for the accuracy part of the Skills Competition, doesn’t he?

  2. Dave Morris says:

    The Falling Snow of Denver are an impressive squad, and they executed their game plan rather well, making for much excitement as partisans of both clubs were treated to a fine display of ice hockey.

    Rather playoff-like in its intensity, one could opine.

    Appropriate perhaps, that The Talented Mr Sharp should be the shooter to shift the balance in favor of the Hawkey Flock.

    Well done, lads. Now about those Leaves…
    🙂

  3. John says:

    I would love to see Kane partake in either the accuracy portion or the stickhandling competition. Both would be infinitely better than the breakaway thing he did last year.

  4. Lou says:

    @Dave Colorado is up and coming but how long can Anderson carry this load without burning out?

    We still need to do better at controlling the rebounds and puck in front of our net. Getting better but going to make a huge difference.

    The Barker goal was right along the boards in front of us. I am stil shocked at what he did.

  5. Leonidas says:

    Solid game for Ham Sandwich, he was outstanding in breaking up Avalanche rushes before they turned into shots. It also seems like he’s developing a clear-and-dodge the oncoming forward maneuver to replace his clear-and-get-smashed routine.

    Any of you fans of the scrap want to justify Fraser’s fracases? At this point, hes way more valuable as a centerman then as a speedbag for opposing thugs. I’d rather see 3 lousy, off angle shot attempts instead of the ‘energy’ those bouts created.

  6. JM says:

    In other news, the 08-09 year was the most profitable year ever for the NHL, with the Blackhawks value jumping 26%, making them the 7th most valuable franchise in the league.

    Perhaps the league might want to look into restructuring the salary cap. The NHLPA surely will be noticing how a handful of clubs are forcing the cap downward (at least that’s the prediction), when the majority of teams, and the league overall, are operating quite profitably.

    Why should your pay be any less, during the brief time you can make money off your hockey playing ability, because the NHL can’t figure out how to sell hockey in Phoenix?

  7. John says:

    Fraser’s two bouts were the sign of a desperate man. With Hossa’s return looming, he realizes he might be the odd man out if he doesn’t do…..something, anything. So his response was the two fights as if he were saying, “Hey, look at me. I can fight. I can provide a boost.”

    To me, it was more depressing than anything else.

  8. Dennis says:

    Foley’s frequent use (abuse?) of the +/- notwithstanding,I think he and Eddie both hit it on the head by briefly mentioning the NHL’s “crime” of not scheduling more Original Six match-ups in anticipation of the Leafs game. If MLB can continue to reap huge profits by annually showcasing its “regional rivalries”, why can’t the NHL offer at least a home-and-home for the Original Six as Foley suggested? Hey, I’ll sign that petition, too! Really looking forward to Friday night!

  9. Dave Morris says:

    @JM> Bill Daly told the GMs that the cap won’t be changing “significantly” next year…so now GMs can start their budgeting process.

    I expect the cap will rise, at least slightly.

    With the new CBA or lockout on the horizon, there are a number of unresolved issues that can impact rosters and player contracts…so a slightly higher cap benefits both the owners and the players.

    The Forbes article “The Business of Hockey” is excellent BTW…highly recommended for all.
    http://www.forbes.com/2009/11/11/nhl-team-values-business-sports-hockey-values-09-nhl_land.html

    @Lou>the Falling Snow of Denver may continue to rise…as long as they keep beating the Red Wings, that’s just fine with me. Anderson’s a better goalie since he spent time with Vokoun; and my hope is he runs out of steam when the Hawks meet the Avs in the playoffs.
    😉

  10. JM says:

    Thanks Dave for supplying the link and the additional info.

    I had read the summarized story in Crains, nice to see the full Forbes version.

  11. Lou says:

    Fraser fights are not very inspiring to anyone. I was there, they were yawners. I am not sure if he ever really got a good punch in either.

    Ebbett and Kane is a small Tandem and that put a lot of burden on Hossa if he is there. My gut says that Hossa-Kane get Kopecky b/w them on ocassion to add some physicality and spell Ebbett or end the Kopecky is more than a fourth line “Mule” speculation.

    Bolland is on IR according to Hawks website.

    You have to wonder if StanBow tries to doe something with Toews and Kane before Hossa gets here. Price tags typically go up with production…

  12. Dave Morris says:

    @Lou> no one is ever going to mistake Colin Fraser for Chuck Liddell.

    But I’d rather see Capable Colin duking it out than playing like he wants to be on ‘Dancing With The Stars’.

    That’s what 4th line guys are for, right?
    😉

  13. Lou says:

    Very True Dave but at least land a good one once in a while

    Let’s have some fun folks, does Hossa score in his first game? I say yes

  14. Lou says:

    Gotta love the stupidity from EK. Ottawa is interested in Seabrook. Well who isn’t?

    If Bowman is dumb enough to trade him, he better be put over his dad’s knee.

  15. Lou says:

    BTW EK humors me. I think I will have another adult beverage or three

  16. Dave Morris says:

    @Lou> if you want to fight pollution, don’t read Ek.
    😉

    And Stan Bowman is no dummy. Neither is his Dad.

  17. Lou says:

    True Dave but it is always humorous to read the speculation of a moron

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