The Blackhawks emerged victorious in the mile-high city last night despite a slow start.

Just as I had feared, the Hawks came out of the gate crawling, initially falling behind about 7 minutes into the game. Brandon Saad was able to notch the equalizer less than a minute later before an Erik Johnson shot deflected off David Runblad’s skate past Crawford to put the Avalanche back on top, 2-1. Colorado was unable to take that lead into the first intermission with them thanks to a Patrick Kane tap-in goal that was set up by a missile of a shot-pass by Duncan Keith.

The Blackhawks buckled down and shut out the Avalanche for final 2 frames while adding 3 more goals of their own.

Good Stuff:
– Patrick Kane is on fire. 2G, 1A, absolute nightmare to defend.
– Brent Seabrook played like a Norris Trophy winner. Huge clap bomb goal, several outstanding defensive plays. Saved at least one goal.
– The stars came to play. Kane, Toews, Sharp, Hossa, Keith and Seabrook all cracked the score sheet. Good things happen when these guys are producing.

Bad stuff:
– Sluggish start. The Hawks can’t afford defensive lapses that lead to quality scoring chances when they play top teams, like when the Predators visit the UC on Monday night.
– 3rd pair D. Tim Erixon only played 7:37 and David Runblad played 10:27, pushing both Keith and Seabrook over 25 minutes TOI. I’ll just leave the numbers here for now, but there needs to be a better balance of ice time among defensemen in order for Keith and Seabrook to have enough left in the tank for a deep playoff run.
– Bryan Bickell. So much money. Such little production. Hopefully he finds his groove soon.

Looking forward:
The Blackhawks return home to host the Nashville Predators on Monday night. The Preds beat up on the Flyers last night, remaining 2 points behind the Blackhawks in the Central Division standings. This will be the final tune-up before the Hawks take on the Washington Capitals in the Winter Classic on New Year’s Day.