Avs Bury Blackhawks In Denver

Whatever amount of life support the Blackhawks playoff chances were on would take a significant step one way or the other on Saturday and Sunday. With a matinee in Denver on Saturday, Chicago had an opportunity to make up significant ground on the final playoff spot in the Western Conference.

Unfortunately Colorado also needed a win, and they took care of business on their home ice.

The Hawks out-shot the Ave 8-7 in the first period but neither side was able to get on the board. Chicago was short-handed 70 seconds into the game when Brandon Saad was guilty of tripping but their penalty kill was good enough to keep the Avs offense dormant. Saad went to the box a second time in the first period with 2:21 on the board but Chicago successfully killed that penalty as well.

J.T. Compher got Colorado on the board first 3:07 into the second period. Chicago came right back, however, and tied the game as Jonathan Toews cleaned up some loose change on the doorstep for his 32nd of the season.

Chicago got into penalty trouble again in the middle of the period and this time they couldn’t hold on. Erik Gustafsson went to the box for holding – not a great penalty – at 12:29 and was joined there by David Kampf 29 seconds later. Late in the two-man advantage the Avs broke through. Colin Wilson scored to give Colorado a 2-1 lead.

The Avs out-shot the Hawks 12-11 in the second period and carried a one-goal advantage to the third period.

Chicago desperately needed the next goal but didn’t get it. Sven Andrighetto posted up in front of Corey Crawford and appeared to get a piece of an Erik Johnson shot that redirected past Chicago’s goaltender. That would hold up as the game-winning goal.

Gustafsson brought the Blackhawks back to within one 11 minutes later, but that would be the extent of the Chicago offense for the afternoon.

Derick Brassard scored into an empty net to close the books on the afternoon.

55 thoughts on “Avs Bury Blackhawks In Denver

  1. Ran out of gas or what.

    Proud of the guys that went 23-11-6 for the bulk of the 2nd 40 games when the season was on the line, playing without any where near a full roster.

    Need to add what we need to, going forward. Ufas! good ones/correct positions.

    Doesnt matter what happen these last 10 games. There are 4 teams virtually tied for 8th pick/were one of them and two teams for 6th and 7th pick at 4 and 5 under .500, so we could get there depending on those teams.

    We still have a shot a top 6 skill pick.

  2. #loseforjackhughes and #lose forkaapokakko – 8 more games for a chance at a top 5 pick!!

  3. First avalanche goal — Forsling to the right (at least a few feet) of forward who tipped shot in. Third avalanche goal — Forsling closer to forward who tipped shot in.

    Forsling was, remains and will always be soft. He is not an NHL D man in any manner.

  4. P.S. Highmore (w one arm this year), Hagel, the other guy who plays w Hagel, Enswhistle, Kusharev for certain, anyone of these guys right now are a far better option than Kampf who has hands of stone. And nice penalty on the worst PK in the league.

  5. Morrison, it’s not that they’re out of gas. It’s when the games get turned up to playoff level their style of play is not conducive to winning. Can’t play soft on D ie Forsling. Need greasy goals, net front traffic, second chances, deflections etc. We had those types of players during cup runs ie Shaw, bolland etc. Caggiula is one of those players. Toews and Kane were on fire with him doing dirty work.

    Team needs

  6. After every game Coliton talks about the need to screen the goalie. Why then does no one ever do what the coach wants? This has been a problem all season maybe they don’t listen to him at all. As a fan we deserve an answer to this and several other on going issues. Just my rant for the day.

  7. Earl,

    They don’t have that type of personnel. They have guys who are good players in transition. Need a few more guys who play a heavier grittier game

  8. Don’t worry about Kampf playing the rest of the year. The 40 game suspension is coming for a head shot with a stick. Will be back around Christmas next year.

    Forsling’s mistake was to be able to get caught in the same video frame as the player scoring. He should do like the vets on the team do and play defense in the corner or outside the dots. That way you can never get blamed for the guy near the net who scores the goal. Pinching at the offensive dots helps too. The board voted Forsling off the island a long time ago.

    How many games would Gus have played this year with Q as coach? Maybe 25-30 if we had enough injuries?

    Line changes coming tomorrow.

  9. By the way Perlini is back to doing his disappearing act. Got a few goals and he’s satisfied. Such a fast big body with a lethal shot. Effort and will to be hard on the puck is not there.

  10. Kane is out of gas, passing up scoring chances from 15 feet out to try passes across the ice to Gustafsson. Debrincat is tapped out as well. He’s shanking one timers which means he’s tired and his swagger is gone. Strome gets knocked down all over the place, His 50 points is a pleasant surprise. But there is not much left there either.
    Nothing to be mad about. It was an improbable run. Even Duncan Keith who is a perpetually moody guy/curmudgeon, believes the future is bright.

  11. Bottom line, Kahun and Sikura are too soft, too small and not strong enough on the puck to create space in these type of playoff games plus, they can’t score. Kahun’s best season in OHL scored 12 goals???? Now why would you scout this guy for your team and expect him to score. What does he bring besides honest work ethic? Not enough. Sikura, too weak, no shot. The depth of the team at the forward position let us down two years in a row. (Thx Bowman) Other than 2, 7, 56, our defence is weak. Murphy should be a number 6 with half of that contract Santa gave him. Watched Josh Manson, Illinois boy play last night with size and speed on defence for the Ducks. We need a player like that to one day replace Seabs who is the only one who intelligently takes the body and has done that for a 12 years.
    Kudos to the vets who had a comeback season 2, 7, 20, 19, 88, 50. The Cat is here to stay even though the last 4-5 games he was absent along with his buddy Strome. Perlini should stay next season even though he went missing as well the last 3 games. The rest 16, 14, 64, 95, 24, 40??? We need a serious upgrade! Maybe 64 stays as our 4th line center but if he cannot score 7-10 gaols a season than he is useless as well.
    Bowman better get this right this summer or he should go.

  12. I think Stan and Mark Kelly like the smell of their own exhaust when it comes to scouting. Their egos got the best of them this year in terms of this roster. As much as Stan and Mark want to over tinker the “skill” side of the roster, they have to realize hockey has plenty of moments where strength and grit make the difference. Chasing and winning pucks in the corner, holding off large wingers and centers, and wearing down opposing dmen. Forsling honestly bounces off other players, and can’t hold a bigger forward when he’s backing up or when the puck is deep in the zone. Those Avalanche forwards were putting power moves on him and Gus all day.

  13. Awful quiet here, and grumpy.

    Life could be worse – you could be a goalie for the Blackhawks. Or Ottawa, who has overtaken the league lead in goals against. But we are a solid 2nd!

    Go get em boys. Or should I say kids.

  14. Adding to Hull65’s analysis of our defense, 2 and 7 will be slower next season and no longer able to handle enormous minutes. 5 is barely the quality of a second pairing. We need Joki to improve more than ever. Those who think that our three young D studs will solve everything overlook the time it will take these teens to be ready for the big league. Best case scenario: 1-3 years. What to do in the interim? I keep saying I expect Bowman to sign/trade for a good d-man, but one is not enough.

    And then there is the goalie situation, a 3rd line center, and middle six winger. To be a serious contender two years from now, trade all of our bottom centers (15, 64, 16) this summer.

  15. The Hawks certainly not gritty enough but they’re also not skilled enough – if you’re going to play the high-skill, little you have to convert on your scoring chances with more frequency

    This afternoon the Hawks generated a lot of good looks but didn’t finish and that’s been true for a number of games now – Sikura, DCat, Kane, Strome, Saad, Toews, Gus all had multiple good chances that were wasted

    The Hawks as a team are in transition obviously from the old Cup teams and they’re still trying to play the same old Cup team way without having enough grit or enough skill

    It’s not really working yet but I think it could with the right moves

    Next year I expect them to be upgraded in the roster spots currently filled by Kruger, Kunitz, Forsling, Dahlstrom, Ward and hope they also upgrade from AA and those upgrades need to be the right combination of grit and skill

    That’s 6 upgrades – if the Hawks do that and add in the continued growth of players like Strome, DCat, Strome, Gus, Kahun, Caggiula, Perlini it’ll be a competitive team next year

  16. Perspective.

    74 games ago – did anyone expect much from the team this season? No, our hopes were focused more on the individual parts than the sum of those parts. So now it’s almost over and it looks like the team is going to fall short of the playoffs, kind of like we thought at the beginning. And the hopes we had for the individual parts have gone pretty well, haven’t they?

    We knew this was going to be a process and it has been and will continue to be.

    Patience.

  17. Well that ends the playoff run. Good experience for the young guys but they just don’t have the talent.

  18. Some excellent points made-
    I think there is new life-thanks partly to JC.
    There has been some growth or renewal-e.g. growth Strome, D-Cat and Gus, and 19 has bounced back nicely. Perlini is intruiging.
    There are some key requirements-we’ll see how they unfold-one is a mentality to play playoff hockey-eventually against the same team for over a week.
    They need to play (as a team) tougher when needed. It would be nice to have a clear picture of the goalie situation and hopefully a couple of the ‘interesting’ crop of young guys emerges as key pieces.
    I also would like to see the team become less ‘Kanecentric’. I love how he plays, he’s so gifted, but they need to be able to win when he isn’t contributing.

  19. Are any of our prospects able to join the team for a few NHL games before the season is over ?

  20. To weigh in here on comments previously posted by EARL and DEMO;
    I listened to Colliton’s post game as well. He essentially said that no one was going to the net (surprise), and then he was asked “why” they weren’t going to the net. To closely paraphrase his slow and calculated response, he said that they were not willing to go to the net and do what it takes in these kinds of games where relatively big things were on the line.

    Summary: He pretty much said the team needed people who weren’t pussies.

    Now that’s a strong statement, but it’s what he meant. No doubt. And he was talking about the current roster. He was not happy. He was saying they weren’t physically or mentally tough enough to get the job done. He said they talk about it constantly but it doesn’t happen.

    Of course he obviously doesn’t mean that every player has to do that. But there need to be personnel as well as a team mindset that such work has to be done. The guys like Bolland, Shaw, Bickell (when healthy), Byfuglien, et al are all gone. I know there may be some guys who can come up next year, but do they have the grit this team so desperately needs?

    Love the Blackhawks, and will always be in their corner from a fan perspective. But there has to be a change in the team’s mentality and makeup. Anisimov and Caggiulia (sp?) have really been the only two to get down low. Saad has done it some.

    Next.

  21. Goaltending not a one move fix. Crawford will be no.1 guy going into next season, Delia with waivers exempt time available may benefit starting in Rockford and getting regular work. A decision on who they want for backup needed. Drafting agree wuth posts a high ceiling goalie this summer be good idea for a few years down the road, Gravel still a couple more years needed to see if he pans out. To bridge the gap after next season look toward teams likely wanting to move a goalie ahead of expansion draft or maybe fas like Murray or Markstrom could be signed.
    With Boqvist likely to take next season to go back to juniors and bulk up a bit and learn from Hunter to be a more complete and disciplined Defenseman who likely be almost ready to step in as top guy in 20-21 season. Jokiharju will be a top pair guy next season and both will bring lots of offense and be better all around Dmen than Gus.
    If a bigger guy going to be needed then go get him this summer, maybe a team like Pens in tight on cap move a Olli Maata and like a Gus coming back. Have Keith hold top pairing until Boqvist who is strong enough skater to play his game on either side is ready. Mitchell maybe transition on 3rd pair as Seabrook is moved down to no. 7 guy.

    Would like to see them draft a potential no. 1 center with first pick. With Hughes unlikely a Cozens or reasonable facsimile. Could step in as mid roster center in 20-21 and move up as Toews slows down. Move Anisimov this summer and sign a Brock Nelson who can play 3c next year and move to wing the following year to make room for no.1 pick this year. Another guy to watch is Reese Johnson, the top fo guy in Whl, taking over 1400 and winning at 65% rate. Consistency is there as he has won at least half his draws every game since New Years and taking 25 a game usually. He is right a shot so could compliment Toews there nicely. His coach and Gm Brent Sutter has high praise for him, talking about shoulder injury stalling his junior career, big reason he went undrafted but still being a very good player. His very noticeable work ethic and bringing an element of greasiness to lineup, and doing little things like always finishing his checks right.
    By end of 20-21 season could have a lineup something like:
    Nelson No.1 pick Kane
    Saad Toews Kurashev
    Debrincat Strome Entwistle
    Cagguila Johnson Perlini

    Kampf, Kahun, Sikura plus possible Europeans, Barrett, Hagel to add into depth.

    Boqvist Jokiharju
    Maatta Murphy
    Keith Mitchell
    Seabrook

    Beaudin plus others in Rockford

    Pickup fa or trade, maybe even Crawford for one more year and Delia

    Time will tell how it plays out.

  22. Big Indian – I didn’t see JC’s press conference but I hope your translation is accurate as that is the reality of the situation. While the defense has its issues, the forward group struggles badly against “heavier” fast teams (i.e. playoff style).

    On the positive side I said early in the year that Gus could’t even be a decent AHL player and his improvement has been staggering.

  23. Ian, respectfully, I think your ask of Joki for next year is too much. A kid who has played what maybe 30-35 games at the NHL level and had at best mixed results isn’t likely to be ready for top pairing responsibilities next year. Cases to point at – Forsling and Rutta in the start of the 17-18 season looked super. By Christmas they both were looking overwhelmed. One is gone and the other is struggling to stay in the lineup. Joki got sent to Rockford because he too took a turn to the poor quality side this season. Kids simply don’t become top pair players that quickly. Look through the league. They are rare events. Players who stay in Juniors or college longer tend to be more prepared to step into the NHL like your expectations for Boqvist.

    We are in agreement that a veteran (preferably a younger one) would be very useful for our defense. I feel a middle pair guy who can be put into the top pair of our team next year makes sense (your choice of Maata is a perfect one). He will be able to handle the pressure better and likely not get destroyed by the hard times. Simply put – we don’t have ANY top pair Dmen on our team right now, and we will need to fake it next year with veterans. Murphy definitely is not a top pair guy in the league but can likely fill the role next year until we can develop or steal a real top pair player. Keith can handle the minutes, yes, but his play is better served as a mid pair player now, and not likely to get better with time. He is not physical, cannot defend in front of the net, has slowed considerably in skating and easily gets beat in the corners – not exactly what you want for a top pair player. His skills are in reading plays and moving the puck these days, though when playing well can fit the top pair role temporarily.

    I am more hesitant about moving Gus. The upside defensively is still pretty big, but offensively he is a force nobody else on the team brings. How much can he develop defensively? Who knows, but confidence is a great learning motivator, and he definitely has confidence these days.

    We don’t have 2 Dmen right now that can make a top pairing on any team looking to be in the playoffs. We need to fix that for next year. I think we buy at least one of those guys, maybe even both, get through the year. If the year is again a failure, then we sell at TDL (or leave one open for the Seattle draft) and clear the path for the kids who gained more experience, Like Joki and someone else who has stepped up during the season. If we get a Dman to improve next year as much as Gus has this year, it will be a huge step for the team. And as for Seabrook – I don’t think there is a chance that the Hawks make him a 7th Dman, unless his game falls off a bunch. Work him out of the lineup on B2B situations, yes, but I can’t imagine him relegated to the press box more often than not.

    Dmen take time to mature. Rushing them has not worked for us. I don’t believe it works in the future either.

    I still believe this is the draft to consider moving up to get our offensive needs jumpstarted. We have some assets that are tradable – do it.

  24. Do we lay an egg or show some pride today? True character will be seen. Let’s see which players show up.

  25. Great post Silent and re: your last post I was thinking the same thing – it’ll be revealing to see who does show up and if anyone goes to the front of the net

    Also agree on Seabs – he have to be horrific before they press box him and right now he’s a solid 3rd pair guy (not worth his contract of course but still an effective player if put in the right role)

  26. Hawks need to make some moves in the offseason as we all know. They need;

    Left handed D guy – trade for Martinez (2 years left on contract LA Kings), Nurse (1 year left on contract Edmonton)….trade Kahun and a pick or Sikura.

    Top 6 winger mainly LW – would love Panarin but not sure we have the cap space. Thinking Dzingel would be a great fit on the 1st line and is a hometown guy!

    Bottom 6 anchor player – Someone like Tanev or make a trade with the Avs for JT Compher who’s a RFA and also a Chicago guy.

    3 moves above would make the team solid next year

    Dzingel – Toews – Kane
    Cat – Strome – Perlini
    Sikura or Kahun – AA – Saad
    Caggs – Kampf – Compher

    Gus – Murphy
    Martinez (or Nurse) – Jokiharju
    Keith – Seabs
    Dahlstrom (7th man)

    Crawford
    Delia

  27. Silent, I don’t think the reason Joki was sent down was because he wasn’t playing well enough. I think he was sent down because (1) Stan knew the Hawks weren’t going to contend this season and (2) they wanted to keep Joki under 40 games played to extend his RFA years by one year. Recall that he came back from having a pretty good WJC leading Finland to the Gold and almost immediately Colliton started moving him around to LD and with different d-partners. I believe the plan all along was to send him down unless he made it impossible for them to do so.

    That, and I think they knew playing in Rockford wouldn’t hurt his development and may even be beneficial for him to take more of a leadership role than he would have with the Hawks.

    Therefore, I don’t assume he isn’t ready to be a top-pairing guy for the Hawks next season. I do agree the Hawks need to acquire a top-4 LD to pair with either Joki or Murphy.

  28. Ebony, agree with you that saving a year on contract status was a definite calculation with Joki and likely the major reason for his being farmed to Rockford. He was reeling before WJC and came out better than he went in, yes. I personally didn’t see enough in his game to warrant hanging him out there for a season when we clearly had a glut of 3rd pairing Dmen (Koekkoek had just been obtained too). I like the seasoning move for him, and freeing up a spot to evaluate Dahlstrom, Forsling, and Koekkoek.

    We all will see how he responds next season and I hope he makes me be wrong about my comments. I simply didn’t see enough to give me hopes he can be a top pair guy next year, but maybe a 2nd pair, more likely a 3rd pair. Would love to be wrong! I would expect him to be around and a factor in 21-22. I do believe he can be a keeper.

  29. Demo, I know/wasnt saying as excuse for team.

    Silent, I am over the 40 games suspension if you are.

    Craig, thanks. Some players are out of gas.

  30. Ian it will be exciting to see what develops-I think people are glossing over Beaudin and I still think he has great upside and really believe he will outpace Mitchell within 2 years.
    Boqvist has potential to be top 2 NHL d-man and will benefit greatly from Keith’s presence, even as he declines. He needs to get stronger but I think he will be a guy that generally avoids contact, and perhaps that might be smart given his injury (head) past. He will need to be paired with someone physical, with a side of nasty.

  31. Wrap/Noonan/Big Indian/Ian, excellent posts. Everybody here is on same page and has the right attitude, like Craig/ER said no need to get mad, were on sch. with the reloading.

    Earl, what Ian said is correct kind of path for roster.

    We need to get some Shawzers in there. Been saying that the whole yr, we just have to wait to get them when available. Bowman and crew must know this.

  32. Silent, Not sure if I can enjoy any of these last 10 games, now that were out of gas.

    I did enjoy, a lot, the guys playing good for 40 games, since game 20ish, going 23-11-6 from down -9 to tied with MIN and COL for 8 seed for a couple days.

    It was that 40 games that made this yr exciting knowing that we have good draft players coming and lots of cap space to add what we traded, as part of the reload.

    Just have to remember that these last 10 games , not matter what happens or looks like and know we did what we did those 40 games while being short handed for what we need as part of roster make up. Have a A for draft and a must B to A+ for summer ufas/trades.

    I think the trades in season this yr were A+.

    Stick with it Bowman and crew, you can do it.

  33. Watching Josh Anderson skate, shoot and hit with his size for Columbus tonight is hard to take as many teams passed on him. Bowman drafted Dillion Fournier and Chris Calnan ahead of him. Both are out of hockey!!!

  34. Toews worked his butt off last night. He lead by example. Lots of complaining that doesn’t sit well with the refs, but some of it was deserved.

  35. Josh Anderson- from Burlington- watched him grow up from age of 2 and he had always had determination… now he has size AND determination AND scored goals # 25 and 26. He is what a power forward is SUPPOSE to do- drive the net, hit hard, dig for pucks, finish his checks – why can’t OUR power forwards do that? 11, 17, 15, 64, 16? Naw- afraid of hurting themselves I think. It’s the one part of John Hayden that makes him fun to watch!

  36. The core really brought the heat to yesterday’s game – it was great to see

    Hopefully the young guys were paying attention to what it takes in terms of level of intensity to win these playoff type games and that one vs COL on Sunday was certainly that

    I think JC was right post-game – whatever happens re: this year’s playoffs the fact that the team (and especially the core guys – including Saad and AA even) showed up in a big way in a must win game augers well for next year

    Besides showing the young guys what’s required it also says that they’re going to play hard for Colliton – that’s huge

  37. For the two transition yrs. 2018 and 2019.
    Yea last yr sucked. This yr is really good for lots of things.

  38. We needed to do what we did this yr. Played without a deep roster and did this good. Certain players that people questioned if they still had it/or do not anymore, are now questioning them. 12 and others are legit and not one hit wonders. So we did everything we needed to and had fun for the bulk of the 2nd 40 games and it wasnt just an easier sch. It was a more spread out sch./games were spaced properly compared to 1st 40 games.

  39. Now its time to add ‘good’ ufas and not anther yr of tank ufas, please. As the good young draft players start to be NHL ready were going to have good players added each yr going forward.

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