If anything, Blackhawks fans should come away from Tuesday night’s loss with a reminder that organizations can rebound from terrible season(s) to be a playoff team.
Nathan MacKinnon led the Colorado Avalanche into the United Center as the Blackhawks stood a matter of hours from being eliminated from postseason contention. The Hart Trophy candidate didn’t disappoint but the home team did in another Chicago performance that could cure insomnia.
Oh, and Semyon Varlamov was back to dominating the Blackhawks.
Anton Forsberg got the call for Chicago and wasn’t very good. He allowed four of Colorado’s five goals, the last of which was perhaps the ugliest.
The Hawks – wait for it – scored first. Brent Seabrook gave the Hawks a 1-0 lead in the first period with his fifth of the year. The power play goal saw Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane pick up assists.
The Avs out-shot the Hawks 16-11 in the first period but trailed by one.
That didn’t last long.
Colorado scored three times – twice on the power play – in the second period to blow the doors off the United Center that could have hosted a kindergarten nap time. There was as much energy in the stands as there was on the ice and rightfully so. The Blackhawks have been a boring product this year, and are one of the more expensive tickets in the NHL.
The Avs added two more goals in the final two minutes of regulation to make the final score 5-1.
Varlamov stopped 44 of 45 and Alex Kerfoot scored twice for the winners.
For Chicago, Toews won 17 of 28 at the dot with an assist. Kane put a team-leading six shots on net. Connor Murphy and Jordan Oesterle were credited with a team-high three blocked shots each. And John Hayden led Chicago with six hits.
Andreas Martinsen made his Blackhawks debut, skating 11:22 with two shots on goal, three hits and two penalty minutes. Matthew Highmore was out of the lineup still dealing with an injury and Anthony Duclair wasn’t available, necessitating the recall of Martinsen.