The Chicago Blackhawks came from behind to earn a 6-4 win over Colorado Avalanche on Tuesday night. Vinnie Hinostroza scored twice in the third period to put the team ahead in a game that seemed like it was going in the wrong direction after 40 minutes of action.
Instead of having the struggling Avalanche chase away the worries that cropped up following back-to-back losses to the Capitals and Wild, they gave the Hawks a real challenge at the Pepsi Center. Colorado led 4-3 after two periods, and the Hawks needed Hinostroza’s heroics to come out with a win.
The first goal by Hinostroza was especially impressive as the rookie got behind the Avalanche defense, then beat Semyon Varlamov on the breakaway. Brent Seabrook made a good stretch pass to free up Hinostroza, who fired up the jets and did the rest from there.
After that goal tied the game at 4-4, Hinostroza delivered again just three minutes later with the eventual game-winner. Tanner Kero made a great dish to set up Hinostroza in front of the net, and he got a stick on it to deflect it past Varlamov for the score.
The Blackhawks hung on from there, and earned another win that easily could’ve gone in the other direction. Kero scored the empty-netter with 11 seconds remaining to make it 6-4. The win, while worth two points, continues a frustrating trend of close games for a team that would ideally beat up an opponent that had won just twice in its last 14 games.
One player who didn’t play his best Tuesday was Corey Crawford. The goalie has carried the Blackhawks to a lot of victories in games where they’ve played like this, but he needed his teammates to lead the way in this one. The goalie saved 19 of 23 shots that went his way, and has just a .886 save percentage since the start of January.
We’ve seen a lot of underwhelming performances in mid-January from the Blackhawks over the years, so this wasn’t anything particularly new. And credit to the team (and Hinostroza) for ultimately coming through victorious. Ideally, you’d crush the team that’s minus-40 (MINUS-40!!) in 5-on-5 goal differential this season, though.
Hinostroza scored twice in just three minutes to effectively turn the tables against the Avalanche. Defense hasn’t been a strong suit for Colorado this season, so keeping a pressing Hawks team off the scoreboard for 20 minutes was always going to be a challenge. Hinostroza matched the Avalanche’s speed with his own quick feet, though, and proved to be a difference-maker when the Blackhawks needed one.
SCH 3 Stars
1. Vinnie Hinostroza, Blackhawks (2 goals)
2. Matt Duchene, Avalanche (2 goals)
3. Tanner Kero, Blackhawks (2 goals, 1 assist)
Play of the game
Tanner to Vinnie to twine. pic.twitter.com/bjXBD6WPaW— Chicago Blackhawks (@NHLBlackhawks) January 18, 2017
The most impressive part of this play is actually Tanner Kero corralling the puck and making a quick pass to Hinostroza in front of the net. Did Kero even see Hinostroza, or was it simply a matter of good instincts? I have no idea, but that was one of Kero’s best plays since taking over as Marcus Kruger’s stopgap replacement a couple weeks ago.
The Blackhawks are off until Friday night when they visit the Bruins in Boston. That’ll wrap up the brief road trip before the team returns home to face the Canucks on Sunday evening.