Just listen to coach Joel Quenneville’s post game comments.
There was a lot to he excited about, and a lot to be frustrated by in Saturday night’s loss. There were also a few things that were interesting.
Michael Frolik finally found the back of the net when he scored the Hawks’ first goal just 46 seconds into the secong period. His goal tied the game at one, and appeared to give the Blackhawks some life.
But Colorado got two goals in the middle of the period to take a 3-1 lead into the closing minute of the second frame. Less than ten seconds into a power play, Jonathan Toews scored his fourth goal of the season in the final minute of the period. The second ended with the Blackhawks trailing 3-2, and with a little momentum.
Jamal Mayers scored his second goal of the season to tie the game at 4:35 in the third, and almost exactly ten minutes later, at 14:33, Marian Hossa gave Chicago a 4-3 lead. However, with less than two minutes left in regulation, youngster Gabriel Landeskog scored his second goal of the night for the Avs.
Despite starting the overtime period with 1:57 of a four-on-three power play, the Hawks weren’t able to score in the extra session and neither were the Avs. As these two teams have done so many times in the last couple seasons, the game went to a shootout. Colorado emerged with the second point when Joakim Lindstrom beat Corey Crawford in the third round of the shootout.
That sums up what the scoring. What happened surround those moments is where Saturday night’s game was fascinating.
The honeymoon with Daniel Carcillo may be over. Early in the game, Viktor Stalberg took a couple shifts with Patrick Kane and Marian Hossa, and Carcillo found himself on the fourth line with Mayers and Marcus Kruger.
The third period saw Quenneville skating Patrick Sharp with Kane and Hossa, and Stalberg with Toews and Andrew Brunette. Stalberg played 14:44 and was credited with two hits; Carcillo skated only 9:05, the smalled ice time total for any Hawks player in the game, and was emotionless for much of the game. Despite his limited playing time, Carcillo was still plus-two in the game and was credited with a team-high four hits.
Corey Crawford didn’t have his best game, and appeared to be struggling with the puck all night. After allowing three goals in the first two periods on only 17 Colorado shots, the Hawks were clearly trying to fight back in the third. After Mayers tied the game, Sean O’Donnell skated back and tapped Crawford’s pads with his stick. When Hossa gave the Hawks the lead, both Duncan Keith and Brent Seabrook skated back and tapped the netminder’s pads again.
But that was about the only thing Keith did that showed any love to Crawford. While the box scored only credits Keith with two giveaways, the naked eye from section 302 saw at least five or six on the night. One, which you can see in the video below, ended up in the game-tying goal from Landeskog late in the third period.
Nick Leddy played another strong game. He skated 34 shifts, the second-highest total on the roster, and 22:14 in ice time. He was credited with an assist on Mayers’ goal, an impressive rush he led up the ice (see video above), two hits and one blocked shot. He has clearly established himself as a top-four defenseman in Chicago this season.
Colorado showed the Blackhawks in the last two games that they are certainly for real. There is a lot of speed and talent on the Avs’ roster and, if they can stay healthy, Colorado will be a team making noise in the Western Conference playoffs this year.
But the Blackhawks left a second point on the table on Saturday night, and showed that the depth moves made by GM Stan Bowman this summer have greatly improved not only the talent on the ice, but the resolve in the dressing room.