Varlamov, Avs Stymie Blackhawks

Semyon Varlamov stopped all 54 shots he faced at the United Center and the Avs generated enough offense in the game’s opening 77 seconds to beat the Blackhawks.

Varlamov’s 54 saves established a new NHL record for the most saves in a regular season shutout on the road.

Kruger COL

Varlamov had allowed five goals against 55 shots in his previous two outings combined, but had everything but the kitchen sink thrown at him in Chicago. The Hawks out-shot the Avs 21-5 in the second period and 16-8 in the third, but weren’t able to beat Colorado’s netminder.

Unfortunately, not many of the Hawks’ shots came with good traffic in front of the net, and Varlamov did a solid job of limiting any rebound opportunities.

Nathan MacKinnon beat Corey Crawford for the game-winner only 53 seconds into the game, and Maxime Talbot added a second tally only 24 seconds later for the sum of the offense.

The scoreboard wasn’t the only surprising part of the Hawks’ performance.

Colorado came into the game ranked 18th in the league, winning only 49.2 percent of their faceoffs as a team. Chicago, meanwhile, came in ranked sixth in the league, winning 52 percent of their draws. But on Tuesday night, the Avs won two-thirds of the faceoffs in the game (36 of 54), led by Ryan O’Reilly winning 14 of 17 in the victory.

Predictably, coach Joel Quenneville threw his lines into the blender in the second period with the Hawks trailing by two. In his second game since being recalled, Teuvo Teravainen spent most of the second and third periods playing a wing, while Patrick Kane played every other shift to open the third period. Teravainen was the only Blackhawks player to win more than half of his faceoffs (winning three of four), and was credited with one blocked shot in the game, but he got only one shot on net.

Kane led the Hawks with seven shots on net in 21:41 on the ice.

Johnny Oduya led the Hawks with three blocked shots, but he and Niklas Hjalmarsson spent much of the night on the bench. Oduya skated only 15:41, the lowest ice time among Hawks defensemen, while Hjalmarsson was on the ice for only 17:41. Michal Rozsival, who didn’t appear to connect on more than one pass all night, skated 19:36 and David Rundblad got on the ice for 15:57.

Bryan Bickell was credited with a team-high five hits in the game.

Crawford settled down after the opening couple minutes and made 22 saves in the game, but took the loss. A tip of the cap to Varlamov and on to the next, which is in Minnesota on Thursday night.

The Wild lost to the Sens 4-3 in overtime, but they were without Zach Parise, who sat out the game to be with his ailing father, JP. Our thoughts and prayers are with the Parise family.

29 thoughts on “Varlamov, Avs Stymie Blackhawks

  1. The laws of physics, Corsi, puck possession time, Fenwick…all of it were suspended this evening. TT had more “presence”, Bickell did the right thing and hung around the front of the net, had some chances but flubbed them. Everyone tried but no cigar. This was the kind of game I just can’t get my head around.

  2. Varlamov did stop a ton of shots, but I’ll disagree slightly about his ability to control rebounds. He was pretty shaky on a number of shots through the first two periods and gave up rebounds that the Hawks just didn’t have the traffic (or the traffic in the right place) to put any back in. All in all, though, he did have a strong performance and it looked a bit like last year when the Blackhawks struggled when he was in the net. Like Eddie O alludes to at times, it seems like the Hawks could have gone to school and tried to elevate the shots on him at times. There were a lot that seemed dead center, right at the five hole. But hey, it’s just one game, and aside from the really bad opening the boys looked like they were giving it a good effort. On to Minnesota!

  3. The game in microcosm: the shot came in from the point and was deflected into Varlemov’s chest, bounced off and landed to his left in front of a wide open net, Bickell who was standing in front of the net looks down and sees the puck and starts to swing his stick blade towards the puck … but … wait … he stops his swing for just a split second before continuing to swing the blade toward the puck just as a defender starts to shove him backward. His stick blade makes contact with the puck and the puck slides just to the outside of the net – no goal.

    And that’s the way the Hawks offensive chances were all night – just a split second off here and there.

    Positives: Rundblad is playing better every game. He has definitely gained confidence and it’s evident in the d-zone and even more in the o-zone. TT looked better – more comfortable. That’s about it …

  4. In truth, the hawks were somewhat fortunate to the game on 12/27 in Denver, very slow start out of the break and sloppy then. Tuesday night avs were fortunate to get the 2 points. As the say turn around is fair play.

    Glad to see Rundblad’s minutes and confidence going up. Even Sunday night in the game against Dallas some of stretch passes were just fantastic. If he gains Quenneville’s confidence and that is tremendously hard to do, the Hawks might have a number 4 defenseman here. That is saying an awful lot from where he was 6 weeks ag on the circus trip. But with Keith, Seabrook, hjalmarsson entrenched, oduya is number 4. The hawks are clearly going to run with him through this season. But after that, TVR and rundblad have to be the leading candidates to take that spot next to hjalmarsson in 2015-16.

    On that note, will we ever see Tim Erixon again ? Lol

  5. What about all that talk? “Have better starts…It’s tough chasing. It’s something that’s been happening lately. Credit our team for battling back most nights, but you can make it easy on ourselves with a better first 20.” (- Patrick Sharp) “It’s not fun playing catch-up. We’re better off when we get the lead and…” (- Patrick Kane) “We’d like not to give up the first goal, but hockey is hockey…” (- Brad Richards) The two (Oduya) mistakes in the first 90 seconds killed them. I know it’s only one game, but this is a team the Hawks SHOULD have beaten (16-16-08, 40PTS) — not time to panic – 4 PTS fewer than the Ducks with one less game played. Be ready Thursday!!

  6. These games happen-this team needs to get out of the mid winter part in reasonable shape and then really push to the end-it’s a long season and even longer 5 years of hockey-
    Rundblad has a new sense of confidence–if you could put aspects of his game and TVRs together you might have an all-star.
    TT a much better game as some have mentioned-will he be here for the playoffs? You can see just how much stronger 88 is than him. It’s fun to project TT as a 23 year old man with 10/15 more pounds of muscle. I’d love to be on his line!

  7. Newsflash… Oduya misses team meeting… 27 wasn’t told that McKinnon is one of the Fastest players in the league and pretty good at hockey… Rumor has it he was rookie of the year last year…

    NOW 27 knows

    Richards – last several games looking like “the old man” that started the season – skating is falling behind again.

  8. That double-minor by Toews seemed to snuff the remaining fight out of the offense. Quality shots turned back into frantic attempts.

  9. I suppose I should address Crawford’s performance and effect. I tuned into the game about 2 minutes late, thinking no big deal. But wow, was I wrong.

    Crawford is not a terrible goalie, but he is not doing anything special for 6 million per year lately. His numbers are great but what those numbers don’t show are the let down. It seemed pretty clear that after those first 2 goals, the rest of the team was just not feeling it anymore. Hossa looked and sounded pretty frustrated during the 1st intermission interview. I kinda felt bad for him.

    Bottom line. The Avs did a great job stalling the hawks after a huge black eye in the first few seconds. Varlamov was absolutely on fire. A very impressive night at his net!

  10. It was more than one bad shift, 27 was on for both goals. The Hawks will not miss him next year.
    Just a comment on the previous thread about Crawford. I don’t think people were saying he should be gone this year but may be an option for next year to save CAP space as someone has to go. For those that say Darling and Raanta are not good enough. Who was Ben Bishop in Ottawa? that’s right a third string goalie traded to Tampa and I think he is doing quite well I would say. Ottawa kept the veteran Anderson (Crawford) and young European goalie Lehner (Raanta) and traded Bishop (Darling) sound familiar.

    Congrats!!! to Team Canada on their gold medal win. So much depth on that team and I think McDavid showed what he can do, and not being on the top line.

  11. Makes difference when you play teams. DAL and COL have been playing their best, last 10 or so games. (we still beat both, just not all of them) For strange reason we beat teams that are on a roll of late and been known to take a hit when the other team has been playing shitty of late. Would have to think DAL and COL would 10games over .500 if they were in east conf. divisions. DAL had as hard of sch. you can (like our 10of12 on road) during their 2nd 10game segment. Now their on the move and I can se them getting to where WIN is soon.

    Its truly remarkable how much harder our division sch. is then the others. This is why it seems like ANA should get the 1seed because the only 2 bad teams in conf. are in that division. As of now probably only ANA (+16) and CHI (+14) and STL (+11) and NAS (+17) are playing for the 1and2seed. SAN could but they have only had one good 10game segment.

    We have a different then usually sch. these few wks coming up, which might help that dreaded pirate JAN and FEB history. After a few games here now, we have 5days off. Then 4in6 nights, then 7days off. Also have a stretch of 3 at home, 7 on road, 8 at home. ‘Sounds kind of fishy guys’

  12. Kid- The Hawks fired 54 shots after giving up the two quick goals. If the team was “not feeling it” and still got 54 shots on net I could only imagine what they could do when they are feeling it.

    Oduya has been a hot mess this year and it’s starting to become a big problem. If he and Oduya can’t be trusted to take on the tough assignments, it will be a lot harder for Keith to push the play as easily as he does.

    I think we can now understand why Stan traded that 2nd for Rundblad. As he gets more confident you can really watch him grow by leaps and bounds. He’s about as good of a passer as the Hawks have on the blue line and he has an absolute cannon of a shot.

  13. Gbladz… Re: Crow… exactly… he is an option to be traded… w/ Two huge factors being considered… what prospects can most closely “resemble” what you have now…

    And what other teams will give/trade you in return!!!

    wts- I don’t see a “Sharp”-shooter/skater (Pun intended)… Seabs/ might be replaced by Johns (but Johns has been out… so Hard to make judgement)

    I would love for it to be Bickell… But don’t really see anyone giving us much for 29…
    Unless he has another good PO’s… then you really have no size in Prospect pool until Hayden/ although I think RasMOOSEn could replace… but different type of player.

    So it really leads me to 50 being a “top 2 candidate”, based on trade value, and Prospects closest to replace.

  14. Insights? Teuvo Teravainen was literally lifted off his skates and dumped on his back about 3 times, sounds silly but being able to learn to absorb and position and avoid a HIT is everything in hockey, KANE spent a ton of time off season just on positioning to absorb hits! At TT size that is way he look tentative a lot if you watch a lot of hockey. TT does a few things great, one is his ability to get a shot off in traffic and getting that shot low enough to create “Easy Rebound goals.” He has speed and passing skills and make the right pass “Faster” than any Hawk who like to look around a lot for the perfect pass. Seeing TT live his weakness is a very very very weak slap-shot it is almost non-existant! One reason and maybe the only reason hawks are getting beat is that again sorry to repeat myself BUT guy like OHH-DO-YA and Rundblad and even HAMMER can not go in the offensive zone beyond the blue line, almost NEVER. Kieth is Kieth the best and seldom get caught or trapped or pinned in the zone leading to odd man breaks! SAAD while playing WELL seems to be a step or two slow, the Hawks overall seem SLOW and indeed they are a slow team vs AV’s or BLUES etc. but we need players like we had in MORRIN and SADD to skate north to south, not drift left and right. AGAIN no net presence or NO Assignment given to BICK or SHAW to OWN that net, way too many rebounds last night and way to many shots from Lake Shore drive, look good but i can stop those with a tennis racket! Still need a steady net presence is needed, Still need to go to the net a lot more, too much dump and chase and chip and chase get to the net, in unison, all three crash at times! Now it’s looking for perfection, need to make faster decisions with the puck. Agian that SECOND LINE on the powerplay is a disaster! All done, Hawks are getting to the break and it is going to get harder as Teams fight for their playoff life’s!

  15. The regression of 27 continues. Many on this site saw this coming last year and wanted him traded. If it wasn’t for 4 bailing him out it would be much worse. So much for the negative. I saw some positives last night. The boys never quit. TT was much better in the second half of the game. He looks very responsible defensively. Quick stick. 5/32 actually played fairly well last night. I am noticing less panic out of 5 in the D zone. Kane did a much better job of getting back on D last night. I think all the forwards did. 42 and 29 had some nice hits. On to Minny.

  16. Is Garret Ross healthy yet? Besides passing the eye test, he is a +19, and Teavo was a -3 in minors. Teavo not ready for NHL grind. Patrick Kane at his age took the punishment and still made plays; Teavo is nowhere near ready from a physical and compete standpoint. Nordstrom is not exactly tearing it up w/ the Hawks as well. 3 line team = no Stanley Cup. See last year series v. Kings, or entire playoffs for that matter. Crawford hid the 3 line issue the first two series last year. Get well Versteeg’s hand soon.

  17. So was at the game yesterday. The powerplay figuratively made me want to vomit all over the place. So much standing. Zero movement. It can’t be that hard to pass and move and then pass and move again. Pretty unforgivable in my mind.

    T2 was fine. Got dumped real good a few times but that is going to happen to any rookie. His positioning on the ice is fantastic and he made some really really nice plays to move the puck. He just needs to play at this point.

    There were a lot of sitters that were not picked up or biffed.

    And Patrick Sharp and Patrick Kane do not work with Brad Richards at the same time. All of a sudden Richards starts to look like crap once that change happens. I blame Patrick Sharp because it works with everyone else.

  18. One thing I notice about this site is that there is a need for a whipping boy–27 it’s your turn-
    bottom line he isn’t Hammer (few in the NHL are) but he is the 4th best D-man on the team and WILL be needed this year.

  19. For those advocating a Crawford trade—tel us who will take his salary? And with regards to Darling, let him handle the AHL first.

  20. Advocating trading Crawford and considering trading Crawford are very different thoughts. The Hawks must dump some salary over the summer. Crawford, like Sharp, must be under consideration….that’s all. We speculate and opine reasons for one player or another. In the end the Hawks will have to move what we all hope is the lesser of evils. And we all know that Crow would have to perform at a high level to attract suitors.

    That said, we have 4 competent goalies in the system. That is a huge luxury. Yes, we want to see more of Darling, and Raanta, in the AHL before becoming NHL regulars. BUT if Crow where to be moved, Darling, Raanta and the veteran Leighton are capable of holding down the fort.

    As far as last night’s game is concerned. I hate to lose, but if the Hawks play this hard every night I can accept the losses that are inevitable.

  21. my 2 cents… This organization is not going to dump CC and simply hand the keys to anyone(or pair) we have available now. Just too risky, which is not exactly a trait of this current leadership.

  22. ftr That link provides the best explanation of our PP woes. WOW makes one wonder wtf don’t our coaches see. I think JS and a few others have advocated some of the changes suggested in the clip for a while now.

  23. Ryan Dale, the Bowmans have a history of believing a goalie doesn’t winn Stanley Cups, and I wonder how many games a year are pure goalie wins? Mike said it best, I am not advocating trading Crow but just discussing ways to relieve cap pressure. I still believe Sharp is the guy that needs to go first and without Oduya and Rosy, we might squeak by but IF we have net depth, what would we get for Crow was my original question. If McDavid and Eichel are not feasible, would a guy like Zacha (http://www.nhl.com/ice/news.htm?id=743383) be worth moving Crow for? I love having Crow in the net but I am the one that believes you have to move players to keep your team strong.

  24. I like keeping everyone as long as possible too. We have a loaded top5ish farm, so we are not forced to ‘trade high’ force feed. Plus, in the future if we need a top end ufa player (and have the room) they will come (51, 81).

    Unless someone/high end player is in the middle of their prime yrs, I do not think any team is getting a trade for a top 5 pick in this draft. Maybe trade up, our 1st and somebody for a 6-15 type pick.

  25. The equation is pretty simple. The Hawks are near the Cap right now….so
    Expiring contracts
    Oduya 3.4mm
    Richards 2.0mm
    Kruger 1.3mm
    Rosival 2.2mm
    Saad .8mm
    Rundblad .6mm
    Carcillo .6mm
    Nordstrom .6mm
    These expiring contracts are worth 11.5mm. Toews and Kane chew up 8.4mm of that starting next year leaving 3.1mm PLUS whatever the Cap increases. Let’s say the Cap increases 5mm. The Hawks will have 8.1mm to field 8 players…..about 1mm per player, that ain’t gonna do it. And you still have to make decisions on Saad and Krugs. Trade them at deadline, let them walk or sign them to new contracts. 16 and 20 as a pair conceivably could command $6mm between them. That leaves 2.1mm for 6 players assuming the Cap rises 5mm.

    So we debate, trading who give us our best return and is the lesser of two evils. The one thing we do know is the Hawks will be younger and look different next season

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