Power Play Lets Down The Blackhawks In Loss To Avs.

David Banks-USA TODAY Sports

The Blackhawks out play everyone in an Avalanche uniform except Semyon Varlamov.

If you were to look at the stats, both normal and fancy, without looking at the goals scored, you would say the Blackhawks won by at least three goals.  Well, much like the first game between these two teams, that wasn't the case.  Hockey is a funny and fickle lover that drives us crazy but we can't quit her.

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The Blackhawks dominated the puck possession and the attack zone time for most of the 1st period as the chart above, from Extra Skater, clearly shows.  They spent 7:27 on the power play and out shot the Avalanche 13 to 9.  But, the Hawks found themselves trailing 2-0 due to a fairly stupid 62 second span late in the period.  Tyson Barrie put the Avs up 1-0 when his shot was slightly deflected in front of Corey Crawford by Johnny Oduya.  That was at least the second time Oduya has deflected one past Crow this year. 52 seconds after the Barrie goal, Kris Versteeg would take a hooking penalty 200 feet away from his own net.  10 seconds later Ryan O'Reilly was left all alone in front of the net, after some nice passing by the Avs, and buried his 17th goal of the season.  Just for good measure, Marian Hossa took another hooking penalty four seconds after O'Reilly's goal but the Hawks penalty kill was up to the task. The Blackhawks could have easily scored at least three goals in the 1st but instead found themselves at the bottom of a two goal hole.

The Blackhawks had the man advantage for the first 33 seconds of the 2nd period and would get a fourth power play a minute later but could not get the puck past Semyon Varlamov.  The Hawks were getting too cute and were passing instead of shooting.  Marian Hossa and Patrick Sharp were both guilty of going for the extra pass instead of taking an open shot.  Brandon Saad skated to the slot and didn't hesitate to shoot. Johnny Oduya, for some odd reason, was providing a screen in front of the net and slightly deflected the puck past Varlamov for his third goal of the season at 8:12.  Andrew Shaw was given credit for the secondary assist on the play.  The Hawks would out shoot the Avs 16 to 6 in the 2nd period but still trailed on the scoreboard going into the final frame.

The Hawks would start the 3rd period the same way they started the 2nd; on the power play.  Just like their first four attempts with the extra man, the Hawks could not light the lamp.  Brandon Saad would be instrumental in another Chicago goal, at 7:27, as he gathered in a Marian Hossa rebound and got another shot on goal. Varlamov gave up yet another rebound that popped straight up in the air.  Andrew Shaw did a great job of following the puck to the ice and quickly getting it past Varlamov's stick side.  The Blackhawks out shot the Avs 12-2 in the first half of the 3rd but the Avalanche came back to out shoot the Hawks 8-3 in the final ten minutes.

The overtime period was an interesting one to say the least.  Brent Seabrook was able to knock the puck away from Nathan MacKinnon preventing a one on one shot.  Patrick Sharp got in behind the Avs' defenders but he missed high.  Jonathan Toews whiffed on the puck and got called for tripping Andre Benoit, who was heading in the other direction.  Toews and Q can complain all they want about the call but it was the right one.  The odds are against the penalty kill unit with all the open ice during a 4 on 3 power play.  35 seconds after the penalty call, Tyson Barrie ended the game with his second goal of the night set up by a great back hand pass from Matt Duchene.

* The Blackhawks went 0 for 5 on the power play and the Avs went 2 for 4.  Special teams usually make the difference in one goal games and it certainly did on Tuesday night.  The Blackhawks had 13 shots with the man advantage but could not foil Semyon Varlamov. The penalty kill gave up another goal right after losing a defensive zone draw, this time by Marcus Kruger.  Despite how much Pat Foley wanted to say Niklas Hjalmarsson's clearing attempt hit the back of the net on the game winning goal, it was still a piss poor play.  Hjammer looked like he rushed his pass and duffed it, making it go directly to Matt Duchene.  Even if it did hit the back of the net,  I'm not entirely sure what he was trying to do with the puck there.  You have to be smarter in those situations.

* Another key factor to the loss on Tuesday was missed shots.  The Blackhawks missed the net 17 times.  Brent Seabrook had the most with three.  Keith, Sharp, Toews, Versteeg and Rozsival all had multiple misses as well.  When you are facing a goalie who had terrible rebound control all night long you are only helping him out by shooting wide.

* Colorado played short handed all night.  Paul Stastny couldn't go after the morning skate which caused the Avs to dress seven defensemen.  Corey Sarich was a late scratch so they only dressed 17 skaters.  Erik Johnson only had one four second shift in the final 25 minutes of the game.  Rather than taking advantage of this, Q pretty much evened it out by giving Versteeg, Bickell and Handzus a combined seven shifts in the 3rd period.  Versteeg had was 100% CF, but I guess that 1st period hooking penalty didn't sit well with Q.  Bickell had a pretty good 1st period.  He was getting to the front of the net early and even seemed to be getting under Varlamov's skin.  Bicks only got 12 seconds of ice time in the 3rd.  Q did not have any kind words about him after the game either.  If there was an actual extra forward on the team I would say he might be a healthy scratch soon.  The Olympic break cannot come soon enough for number 29.

* The 2nd line was good again with Andrew Shaw scoring for the second straight game since being called up.   Brandon Saad continues to do things that should be illegal for a 21 year old to do on the ice.  I don't know of Shaw is the long term solution at center on that line but Saad and Kane need to stay together.

* Corey Crawford played good Tuesday night.  I won't throw him under the bus for the first goal.  It's hard to make a save on a puck that changes directions while you are being screened.  With that being said, he still go have put himself in a better position to "get big" and not give up so much of the net.  The other two goals were by guys who were wide open from point blank ranges.  Crow played good enough to get two points but, once again, the Hawks could not get him one more goal.

Player of the Game

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Photo credit: Jonathan Daniel

Say what you want about Semyon Varlamov's "alleged" off ice personality he has been solid on the ice all season long.  The Hawks did help him out a bit tonight by shooting a lot of shots directly into his chest early, missing the net 17 times and failing to cash in on countless rebounds but 46 saves is still very impressive.  Once the Hawks finally started to get traffic in front of him, Varlamov was still able to stand his ground.  Varlamov has been one of the biggest factors in the Avs' improved play this year and itt will be interesting to see how deep he can carry his team this year.

Advanced Stats

Player

Pos.

ES TOI

CF%

CF% Rel

CF% Close

CF%Rel

Close

O/Dst%

Keith, Duncan

D

19:15

59.4

-10.4

57.7

-6.2

54.5

Hjalmarsson, Niklas

D

19:06

65.7

-0.3

62.5

2.0

42.9

Seabrook, Brent

D

19:09

59.4

-10.4

53.8

-12.8

54.5

Leddy, Nick

D

11:01

75.0

11.2

63.6

2.9

50.0

Sharp, Patrick

R

15:29

56.0

-14.0

54.5

-10.5

45.5

Kruger, Marcus

C

12:52

66.7

1.1

61.1

-0.3

25.0

Toews, Jonathan

C

15:57

60.0

-8.3

59.1

-3.4

45.5

Saad, Brandon

L

14:12

62.5

-5.4

50.0

-15.9

75.0

Versteeg, Kris

R

07:45

100

39.7

100

46.2

0.0

Handzus, Michal

C

06:13

85.7

21.6

85.7

27.5

0.0

Oduya, Johnny

D

19:15

67.6

3.0

64.0

4.5

42.9

Smith, Ben

R

10:51

65.0

-1.2

60.0

-1.7

14.3

Bickell, Bryan

L

06:34

81.8

18.3

80.0

22.3

0.0

Rozsival, Michal

D

11:10

77.8

15.1

75.0

17.0

50.0

Bollig, Brandon

L

10:48

76.5

13.2

75.0

17.0

14.3

Shaw, Andrew

C

13:29

64.3

-2.4

53.3

-10.5

69.2

Hossa, Marian

R

16:25

62.1

-5.8

54.5

-10.5

45.5

Kane, Patrick

R

14:30

56.0

-14.0

46.7

-19.3

69.2

Player

Pos.

ES TOI

CF%

CF% Rel

CF% Close

CF%Rel

Close

O/Dst%

Holden, Nick

D

17:38

47.2

22.7

64.0

42.4

50.0

Barrie, Tyson

D

19:55

32.4

-2.9

33.3

-8.8

66.7

Johnson, Erik

D

09:19

28.6

-6.6

25.0

-17.0

25.0

Mitchell, John

C

14:05

45.0

14.2

52.9

19.6

50.0

Hejda, Jan

D

17:23

38.5

6.3

39.1

0.7

36.4

Duchene, Matt

C

19:00

35.7

2.4

38.9

0.3

50.0

McGinn, Jamie

L

15:36

38.9

6.1

50.0

13.0

50.0

Cliche, Marc-Andre

R

11:08

25.0

-11.9

28.6

-13.1

42.9

Talbot, Maxime

C

13:08

25.0

-14.6

28.6

-15.3

38.5

MacKinnon, Nathan

C

14:40

32.3

-2.9

34.8

-6.2

37.5

Malone, Brad

C

06:44

21.4

-15.2

21.4

-22.3

83.3

Wilson, Ryan

D

16:13

31.3

-4.6

33.3

-8.1

57.1

McLeod, Cody

L

08:49

28.6

-6.6

40.0

1.5

50.0

Bordeleau, Patrick

L

05:59

35.3

1.5

35.3

-4.7

83.3

Benoit, Andre

D

18:09

25.9

-12.0

33.3

-7.6

56.3

O'Reilly, Ryan

C

18:35

39.3

7.7

42.1

4.9

54.5

Landeskog, Gabriel

L

17:40

38.2

6.9

46.2

12.8

58.3

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