Chicago had the better chances in the first period (a 24-16 advantage in shot attempts), but a questionable tripping call on goaltender Collin Delia led to a Colorado power play, and Sven Andrighetto scored to give the Avs a 1-0 lead after one period. A second power play goal, this one from Tyson Barrie in the second period, made it a 2-0 Avs lead.
Mikko Rantanen added yet another power play goal in the third period to put the Avalanche up by a field goal. Tyson Jost later scored on a 3-on-1 and Andrighetto added his second goal of the night for the final tally of the game.
It’s a Friday night, and it’s late, so let’s get to the thoughts and then get outta here, shall we?
Penalty kill struggles ... again
Starting with the game on March 4, the Blackhawks penalty kill had a nine-game stretch when it allowed 12 goals on 28 PK chances. A 57 percent conversion rate on the PK isn’t going to win much in the NHL. Then the Hawks had a four-game stretch where it killed all seven power plays it faced. But a Colorado hat trick on the power play tonight doomed the Hawks. And that’s one part of Chicago’s game that needs to improve for next season. It’s been especially bad against Colorado:
Wanna know why the Avalanche have beaten the #Blackhawks three times this season? Colorado's power play is ranked 14th in the league this season (20.57%), but it's 8-for-14 (57.1%) in four games against the Hawks. Yikes.— SCOTT FOSTER CITY HOCKEY (@2ndCityHockey) March 31, 2018
Brandon Saad’s redemption?
Obviously, no one for Chicago got any points tonight, but it’s worth pointing out that Brandon Saad had four points in four games heading into tonight’s action. All season long, the argument in Saad’s favor is that he’s been producing chances, just hasn’t been able to finish. Now that the points are arriving for No. 20, maybe he’s kicked whatever it was that ailed him for so long this season. It can certainly be filed under the “too little, too late” category, but it could lend itself to a rebound in the 2018-19 season, one the Hawks will need.
Collin Delia’s future in the organization
Three power play goals against and then a fourth surrendered during a 3-on-1 makes Delia’s stat line look pretty bad tonight, but the rookie hasn’t looked all that out of place in his first two NHL starts. The fifth goal of tonight’s game was one he probably needs to stop, but outside of that one, the 23-year-old California native has looked OK in his brief NHL exposure. There’s been some quiet hype building around Delia’s game since a few strong prospect camp performances that earned him a contract last summer. Wouter Peeters is the only other legit goalie prospect (Anton Forsberg is a bit old for a “prospect”) in the Hawks system right now, and he’s just 19 years old. Delia’s going to be someone to follow over the next few years.
- Sven Andrighetto (COL) — 2 goals
- Tyson Barrie (COL) — 1 goal, 2 assists
- Semyon Varlamov (COL) — 31 saves