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.
– 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.
– 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.
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.