Things Aren’t Looking Up, But We Are: Blackhawks 2 – Avalanche 3
We were actually discussing this game as a staff this morning and who would write the recap. I volunteered for it with my reasoning being that the Avalanche just have something about them that makes them punchable. Coming into this season we made a lot of jokes about Patrick Roy and the Feet but after 3/4 of the season I think it’s only we fair we give them credit for just how far they’ve come in a year. This roster is shaped similarly to the rebuild taking place for the 6th straight year in Alberta yet coming into tonight they were just one point behind Chicago in the division.
Before going into anything that happened in the game can we just address the 18 skaters that dressed tonight? I’ve pretty much stopped trying to figure out why Joel Quenneville makes the decisions he does (starting a cold goalie at altitude in a game where 2nd place in the division was on the line among them) about his lineups. But that doesn’t mean I won’t question things that quite clearly put his team at a disadvantage.
Peter Regin hasn’t exactly lit the world on fire since coming over from the Islanders. I get that. But Sheldon Brookbank has been a liability on defence, let alone skating as the 12th forward this year. Brandon Bollig I can totally accept at 12th forward. I refuse to agree with dressing Brookbank out of position when a natural forward, a center at that, is available to play the position.
The above is what the decision to dress Brookbank at forward in spite of Regin reminds me off. You’ve got a vial of penicillin in the press box but go ahead and spray Windex on that case of the clap, Q.
OK. Rant over.
The 2-0 deficit that was faced after 22 minutes was only partially on the cold goalie’s shoulders. Raanta made several saves in the first ten minutes where the Blackhawks were under siege then let in a softie before the first horn that sent the teams to intermission. The 2nd goal Raanta certainly seemed to go down a little bit too quick but credit on the cross-ice pass to set it up.
Pat Kane was able to do Pat Kane things to close the gap before the teams headed to the game’s 2nd intermission and I think we can go ahead and dismiss whatever that slump thing was that folks were complaining about before the Olympic break.
Going into the third period the Blackhawks were dominating on the forecheck for basically the first ten minutes and then Andrew Shaw took an abysmal penalty. Just 30 seconds into the kill, Marcus Kruger’s attempted clear apparently left play without touching anything and with just 9 seconds left on the 5-on-3 the Avs cashed in.
- Shaw deserves the criticism he’ll receive for that penalty in the third. Completely unnecessary when Chicago was controlling the play for the first half of the final period in a one goal game. Goal to bring the Hawks within one be damned.
- How we feeling about possibly playing this team in the first round of the playoffs? I don’t think anyone should be panicked, though I don’t blame you if you’re not calm either. When scoring 14 goals in 5 games against a team you’d expect to win more than one, right? Three points out of ten isn’t enough against a division foe in the Central.
- Nathan MacKinnon is fast. #analysis
- Rundblad seemed pretty fast as well on Sunday night but he was playing Words With Friends with Peter Regin tonight.
- I’ve written two recaps for games against Colorado this year. While I’m very much aware of what Semyon Varlamov is accused of off the ice, I’ll accuse him of being a hell of a goaltender on it. Despite the lack of blue line talent protecting his crease on Colorado’s roster he’s been able to make saves when Patrick Kane isn’t making him use the company health plan for therapy. A .966 SV% against Chicago this year is impressive no matter what point of view it’s framed in.
The Avalanche sit in 2nd place in the Central division. The Blackhawks are 1-3-5 vs the 1st and 2nd place teams in their own division. There’s no way to slice that up that’ll make you feel comfortable.
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