Blackhawks News

Game Preivew: Chicago Blackhawks Look to Get Back on Track Against Slow-Rolling Colorado Avalanche

By Brian Kinkade

Mar 12, 2014; Denver, CO, USA; Chicago Blackhawks center Jonathan Toews (19) shoots the puck against Colorado Avalanche goalie Semyon Varlamov (1) in the first period at the Pepsi Center. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

As the Chicago Blackhawks enter the 2nd half of the circus trip, they look to clinch at least a .500 record on the trip with a win over last season’s Central Division champions, the Colorado Avalanche.  

This will be the first matchup of the 5-game season series between the Hawks and Avs.  You can catch tonight’s game on CSN-Chicago and you can hear it on WGN 720 AM.


Here’s a statistical breakdown of the Hawks and Avalanche.

[table id=88 /]

Clearly, the Hawks have a big advantage in this one.  Offensively, the Hawks have found their groove and are now near the top of the league and will face Colorado’s poor defensive play.  The Avs are sub-par offensively, and will have to figure it all out against the Hawks elite defense.  Colorado has been excellent on the Penalty Kill, their only real area of strength, so the Hawks Power Play will have their work cut out for them.  The Avalanche have one of the league’s worst Power Play units and it will be going up against the Hawks’ elite Penalty Killing unit.

Possession-wise, the Avalanche are sub-par at best.  Mediocre in the faceoff circle and near the bottom of the league in CF% and matched up against the Hawks near elite faceoff success and legitimately elite CF% does not look good, for the Avs.

The Avalanche has disappointed, so far this season.  They are currently in last place, in the Central Division, with a record of 8-9-5, and 21 points.  However, the Avs are winners of 4 of their last 5 games, so perhaps they are turning things around.  Second-year star center, Nathan MacKinnon leads the Avs in points.  Matt Duchene is quietly starting to build a solid season, after s slow star.  Offseason acquisition, Jarome Iginla only has 3 goals in 22 games as an Av.  Tyson Barrie has chipped in 15 points from the blueline, this season.

In net will likely be rookie goaltender, Calvin Pickard.  Pickard is filling in for the injured Semyon Varlamov and the struggling Reto Berra.  So far, so good, for Pickard as he has a .933 Save Percentage in just 4 games played.

The Hawks are looking to rebound after looking listless, on Sunday, against the Vancouver Canucks.  As of right now, the Hawks are 3rd place in the Central with a record of 14-6-2 and 30 points.  Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane are leading the Hawks in points, and Kane has been on absolute fire lately.  Kris Versteeg has been having a splendid season, so far, as he rebounds from a horrendous ’13-’14 season.  With only 3 goals, and one of the slower starts in his career, Marian Hossa is starting to come alive, on the circus trip.  Andrew Shaw will make his return to the lineup, tonight, after missing 3 games with an upper-body injury.

In net for the Hawks, will likely be Corey Crawford.  Crawford has been great, so far, with a .926 Save Percentage in 15 games, this season.

Were the Avalanche just lucky, last season?  Are they starting to turn their season around? Can the Hawks rebound from an ugly loss in Vancouver?  We’ll find out!

Go Hawks!