Well that was disappointing. Remember that high everyone had Saturday night after the Hawks beat up on the Penguins 5-1? Well that is all forgotten now as they fell to the division rival Colorado Avalanche 4-2. The game was the Blackhawks first at on their home ice in five weeks.
With the win, Colorado has pulled within one point of the Hawks for second place in the Central Division. Most importantly the Avs have a game in hand, which means in theory they could easily leap frog the Hawks because they have a potential 40 more points they can get while Hawks only have 38. Chicago has now fallen to 9-9-3 within the division. This is key because of the new playoff format which will place division rivals against each other.
Quick side note, the Blues also won tonight. They now have a two point lead over the Hawks and a three point lead over the Avs. They have two games in hand over the Hawks and one game in hand over the Avs.
The Hawks came out shooting, just like they did on Saturday. They out shot the visitors 11 to 3 in the first period but failed to slip one past Semyon Varlamov, who stopped 36 of 38 shots on the night. Chicago also went 0-2 on their two power play chances in the first.
In the second it didn't take long for the scoreless tie to get broken. Max Talbot scored his seventh of the season to give the Avs a 1-0 lead. Colorado has a ridiculous record when they score first, which they improved on tonight. Out of their 40 wins, they have scored first in 31 of them.
Ben Smith was able to tie the game with a few minutes to go in the period. He received a nice setup from the recently extended Brandon Bollig. It was Smith's sixth goal of the season and sent the game into the second intermission all tied up.
In the third the Avs scored quickly again. It took just 1:23 for Ryan O'Reilly to break the tie. Then six minutes later the Hawks actually took advantage of a power play and Jonathan Toews tied things up again. It was Toews 22nd on the year. Duncan Keith got an assist on the play, which was his first point since January 29.
Tyson Barrie reclaimed the lead for Colorado with just over seven minutes to play. Then there was a lot of back and forth before coach Joel Quenneville pulled Corey Crawford with about 90 seconds later. About 45 seconds after that a bad turnover lead to the Avs controlling the puck in the Hawks zone and then it was just a matter of time before they scored in the empty net. Paul Stastny's 20th of the season was the final nail in the coffin.
Corey Crawford on the night stopped 17 of 20 shots and while now of the goals were awful that he gave up, they weren't unstoppable. Crawford was forced to wear his black Stadium Series pads as his normal white ones have not yet been recovered after supposedly being stolen from Soldier Field on Saturday. Personally he did look a little weird with the white mask, red jersey and black pads.
For the game the Hawks out shot Colorado 38 to 21. Chicago was out hit 31 to 18. The power play went 1/4 and the penalty kill went 1/3. These two teams will meet next Wednesday in Colorado. It will be the final time the two meet this season, unless they matchup in the playoffs.
Their next game is Thursday when they host a former division foe in the Columbus Blue Jackets.It will be the first time they face each other this season. It will be interesting to see if the newly acquired David Rundbald will be in the lineup or if Coach Q will make any lineup changes as they adjust to being without Marian Hossa.
Puck drops at 7 and the game can be found on CSN.