Dec 27, 2014; Denver, CO, USA; Chicago Blackhawks defensemanBrent Seabrook
(7) celebrates with teammates after scoring a goal during the second period against the Colorado Avalanche at Pepsi Center. Mandatory Credit: Chris Humphreys-USA TODAY Sports
The opening game for both teams after the Christmas break had the Blackhawks flying to Denver this morning before tonight’s game and the question had to be will the Blackhawks return to their form after 3 days off.
The initial frame was a very entertaining period with the Av’s drawing first blood when Nathan Mackinnon showing off his skill level first with his speed and then a wicked shot past Corey Crawford to give the home town a reason to make a lot of noise. The Hawks didn’t waste much time to answer and in 30 seconds Jonathan Toews made a nice play and pass to Brandon Saad who buried the tying goal.
The Hawks didn’t seem to find their legs until the middle of the first period and right when they were gaining some momentum a bad bounce off David Rundblad‘s skated ended up in the back of the net past Crawford with Erik Johnson getting the credit for the goal. The Blackhawks had two powerplays in the period and they were awful with the two best scoring chances belonging to the Av’s. The Blackhawks tied it up when Duncan Keith made a great pass to set up a Patrick Kane goal. The Hawks out shot the Av’s 9-6 in the first but the score is tied 2-2 after 1 period.
The story of the second period was that everyone settled down especially Corey Crawford who after a shaky start to the game for the second straight game started stopping everything shot his way in the second period. The period was less of a fast break and more of physical battle well kind of these two teams like to skate and not hit but it wasn’t a free flowing period like the first period.
The Blackhawks took a 3-2 lead with the only goal of the period on a Brent Seabrook blast that beat the Av’s goalie. The shot was fantastic and it saved what looked like a third straight bad Blackhawks powerplay. The Hawks headed to the third period with a lead on the road will they be able to seal the deal?
It’s pretty ironic that for as bad as the powerplay looked in the first 3 chances it ended the night with two goals. The second one was a birthday gift for Patrick Sharp as a pretty fortuitous bounce ended up on his stick and Sharp put it in the back of the net for a 4-2 lead. The cushion was nice but the story of the period had to be the Hawks in the middle of the period stopping two powerplays with a 5 on 3 powerplay right in the middle of it all for 40 seconds. The PK unit only gave up a couple of shots that Crawford stopped and the only real chance in the period was smothered.
The Blackhawks finished the scoring when Patrick Kane put in an empty net goal with seconds left to make it 5-2. The play ended with a cup shot from the Av’s to Kane and some funny business that won’t be forgotten when these two teams meet up less than 2 weeks from today. The Hawks looked like the Hawks again tonight as they skated away with a 5-2 win.
– Patrick Sharp now has 4 goals on his birthday the last two years.
– Patrick Kane’s 2 goals move him only 4 away from career goal #200 and one away from tying Troy Murray on the Blackhawks all-time list
– The Blackhawks are the first team to 24 wins in the NHL
– The Blackhawks host the Nashville Predators Monday Night at the United Center!