After a bit of a slow start in the first period of this one, during which the Blackhawks gave up a few shorthanded scoring chances, the 'Hawks finally came to life late in the first period, and dominated from there on out, defeating the Avalanche by a score of 5-2.
The first period started ugly, as the 'Hawks were sloppy with their passes and sluggish with their skating. The Avs looked a step faster all over the ice, and eventually Nathan MacKinnon cashed in on a great individual effort to open to scoring. The 'Hawks survived two miserable powerplays and a couple of defensive miscues, and were able to escape the first period in a 2-2 tie.
From there on out, it felt like it was all 'Hawks. They dominated the puck possession, especially in the second period, when they got 13 shots on net compared to just 8 for Colorado. The five 'Hawks goals came from Brandon Saad, Patrick Kane (2), Brent Seabrook, and Patrick Sharp. All of those players have been playing well of late, so it's good to see the key contributors continue to do so.
It's good to see the Blackhawks turn in such a dominating effort when you consider the various things that could've led to the contrary, such as the poor effort on Tuesday, the early travel schedule this morning, and the death of Clint Reif, whose funeral was yesterday. This team has a never-say-die attitude that is necessary for any team with championship aspirations, and it's fantastic to see.
The 'Hawks next game is Monday, as they host the Nashville Predators at 7:30 p.m. CT. It's their last game in 2014.
Onto the stars.
Three Stars of the Game
3. Corey Crawford
Crow also had a bit of a slow start to the game, and I'm sure he wants another shot at both of the Colorado goals, both of which he probably should've had. Still, he overcame those, settled in, and was more than solid in the second and third periods. He dominated his crease as usual, and had great rebound control. This is a bit of old news, but his mental fortitude has grown immensely since his early years as the #1 guy. He has developed into one of the league's better goalies, and he continues to show it.
2. Patrick Kane
Kaner has been on tear lately, scoring goals left and right, and making it look easily. He had a beautiful goal tonight on which he redirected a slap-pass from Duncan Keith, but also was just great for most of the night. He has been the 'Hawks best player this season in my opinion, and tonight was just another example of it. Blackhawks hockey is more fun when Patrick Kane does Patrick Kane things, so hopefully he keeps it up.
1. Brent Seabrook
Seabrook's great recent play continued tonight, as he made several great defensive plays (as is becoming a regular occurrence, it seems) and scored the 'Hawks game-winner. He was probably the best player on the ice for either team for great stretches of this game, which is saying something. The biggest play he made in my opinion was chasing Matt Duchene down on a breakaway to prevent a good scoring chance, which might've turned the game around a bit. Instead, Seabs shut him down (with a bit of help from Crawford), and kept the momentum going the 'Hawks way. Edzo is having fun pounding the idea that this is Seabrook's best year in a 'Hawks sweater into our heards, but the way #7 is playing, it's pretty hard to argue with him.