Blackhawks Waste Crawford’s Return, Lose To Avs


Finally, Jonathan Toews got off the schneid.

The Blackhawks wanted to treat their home fans to a divisional victory before Christmas, and had the right opponent to do just that (at least on paper); Colorado was 2-11-1 in their previous 14 games. But not many games against the Avs have been easy for the Hawks in recent years, and Friday night was no different.

The opening few minutes weren’t great for the Blackhawks, but starting games hasn’t exactly been a bright spot for Chicago during their recent hot streak.

In fact, the first good look the Hawks had at the net was a breakaway for Jordin Tootoo… that the pointless (in the box score and on the payroll) Tootoo decided to get pretty with in spite of the scoreless game. Tootoo put the puck between his legs before putting a weak shot on net, because having a point before Christmas is too much to ask.

Colorado out-shot the Hawks 13-12 in the first period but neither team was able to find the back of the net. Corey Crawford, making his return after missing time because of an appendectomy, was very good in the first.

In the second, Crawford was amazing and Toews got to work.

At 9:55 into the middle frame, Blackhawks legend Rene Bourque went to the box. Chicago’s first power play unit didn’t generate anything before a change, and the second unit didn’t get anything through either. But with three seconds left in the advantage, Artemi Panarin found Toews on the doorstep and Chicago’s captain scored for the first time in what felt like forever.

Toews had a number of great looks early and finally ended his drought, giving the Hawks a 1-0 lead.

After the Toews goal, Crawford was the show in the second. Vinnie Hinostroza, who missed the morning skate because of an illness, went to the box at 15:38 and Crawford was absolutely stellar on the penalty kill. He made a series of ridiculous saves in the final seconds of the advantage to keep the score 1-0 Chicago, where it remained at the end of 40 minutes.

Through two periods, Toews had won 11 of 16 faceoffs and had a game-high five shots on net while Crawford had stopped 24 shots.

On the other end of the ice, Calvin Pickard was having himself a game as well. Colorado’s netminder made 26 saves against 27 shots in the first two periods, keeping his team in a game.

Colorado came into Friday night’s action in the midst of an awful stretch of hockey. The Avs had lost their previous five games by a combined score of 19-5, and had been shutout by Toronto and Minnesota in their previous two contests.

Lack of discipline and inconsistent offense have been their issues all season, but a lackluster third period by the Hawks allowed them to hang around into the third period on the road against the Western Conference’s best team.

Chicago started the third period with 83 seconds of power play time with Mikko Rantanen in the box. The Hawks would fail to get a shot on net before the power play expired, however.

Three minutes into the third, Andreas Martinsen decided to run Ryan Hartman in front of the Hawks bench. Chicago wasn’t able to get anything done on their power play (again), and the Avs were able to generate some momentum coming off the penalty kill.

Rantanen redirected a Tyson Barrie shot past Crawford at 5:42 into the third to tie the game. The shot, Colorado’s 27th of the night, found Rantanen in the right spot and the young forward put home his fifth of the season.

Regulation ended with the score still knotted at one. Crawford had made 32 saves; Pickard had stopped 38. And, for only the third time in the month of December, the Avalanche achieved a point in the standings.

Colorado finished the deal 25 seconds into overtime. Patrick Kane turned the puck over, leading to a 2-on-1 for Barrie and Nathan MacKinnon. MacKinnon put the first shot – the only shot – of the extra session on net and beat Crawford for the first overtime game-winning goal of his career.

Toews finished the game with a game-high seven shots on net and won 20 of 28 faceoffs. Brent Seabrook led Chicago with three hits and Trevor van Riemsdyk had a team-high three blocked shots. Tootoo skated only 4:09 and Andrew Desjardins was limited to 5:47 in the loss.

Tanner Kero, who was recalled before the game to replace Artem Anisimov, won four of 11 faceoffs with one blocked shot and one takeaway in 11:06. Hinostroza won five of 10 faceoffs and was credited with two hits, one takeaway and four shots on net. He also had all four of Chicago’s penalty minutes in the game.

16 thoughts on “Blackhawks Waste Crawford’s Return, Lose To Avs

  1. I think the best way to describe this game is pathetic. Pathetic effort, pathetic execution and a pathetic loss to a pathetic team who were playing a back to back.

    Crawford was exceptional in his return and that was the only bright spot.

    When the Hawks play games like this it makes me truly wonder how they manage to have a record like they do.

    Oh well, keep a short memory and move on I suppose.

  2. News Flash….Toews parks his ass in the crease and SCORES. Maybe he reads these posts after all, or did he will that one in.

  3. We have been 10-1-3 against top 10 teams (since the first 2 horseshit officiated games). I would rather we play like that when it matters, then get 2pts instead of 1 in a tie when we were in a 7 games in 13 days. Its not a happy tie when we outplayed them and they got equal scoring chances.

    Were right where we want to be, playing for the 1 or 2 conference seed. We have played good against the other top 10 teams and we still have upside. 82 games is a long run, take it in stride.

  4. It seems to happen once or twice a year where there is a stretch of 3 to 5 games where Kane appears to be a little too nonchalant, like he’s not as focused on the game as he usually is. This manifests into loosing the puck or not catching passes like he normally would as well as other noticeable dips in his play. It seems like the last few games is one of these stretches. I’ve wondered in the past when it happened if it was related to a scoring drought and I haven’t been able to substantiate that, but his goal scoring is definitely down this year and maybe he’s getting frustrated. Last season was far and away his best goal scoring season where it seemed like practically every puck he fired at the net found its way in. This season is the opposite, and maybe that’s causing him to press a bit and lose focus on playing the right way. His turnover in OT tonight is a case in point. The name of the game in OT is to not force a play and a potential turnover and that’s exactly what Kane did tonight – trying to deke through 2 defenders is a bad play in OT and he knows better than to try that. We’ve seen Kane pout in the past when he’s not scoring as much as he thinks he should and my spidey sense tells me that’s what is going on.

    On the other hand, Toews gets a goal so hopefully that opens the flood gates for the captain.

  5. Finally a title that makes sense-THE USUAL…………(other suggestions–redo, replicate, continual, incessant)
    To All a merry Christmas

  6. “The Usual” Suspect… thanks for the Laughs… after that snoozer of a game.

    fyi- It was Schmaltz last nite… why do you think he didn’t skate last Hog game (too sore)

  7. ………Crawford was great in his comeback start but rest of team started Christmas partying too soon…..very poor effort against a hapless Avalanche team on a back to back!…..will blame this one on injuries and hope it doesn’t become a pattern….best wishes too all……

  8. Kane is obviously a brilliant player, but I agree with some other posters in that he does seem somewhat careless at times. He will make some spectacular passes and score some pretty goals. However he does seem to be a little unfocused and lazy with the puck at times. He’s had some uncharacteristic (for him) turnovers and has had his pocket picked a few times over the course of this season. Here’s hoping that Patrick will ramp up the mental aspect and have more all around better play. It’s an incremental step above an already high level, but that incremental step will help him and the team immensely.
    Happy Holidays to all, and GO BLACKHAWKS!!!!

  9. Thats Kaner. This dude is wicked scary when he has a thing to prove or he is hungry like a wolf. Our guys are a diff animal when the meaningful games or playoffs start to kick in. We have more then a few guys that can take it to another level that others cant, when we want to. Lion in the Savanna.

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