HIGHWAY ROBBERY: Avalanche 3, Blackhawks 2 (OT)
Sometimes you do everything right, and things still go wrong.
The Chicago Blackhawks didn't do everything right, but they were righter than the Colorado Avalanche were, completely eating their lunch on puck possession and shooting the damn thing. Unfortunately, known turdcutter Semyon Varlamov stood on his head, stopping 46 of 48 shots, as the Colorado Avalanche beat the Hawks 3-2 in overtime in the United Center.
Let's get to this:
For Niklas Hjalmarsson and Johnny Oduya, it was the best of times and the worst of times. They are getting the tough assignment night in and night out. Oduya managed to get a goal tonight by setting a screen in front of Varlamov before deflecting a Brandon Saad shot. While Duncan Keith and Brent Seabrook have been racking up Stalberg-playing-Columbus numbers all year, the Swedes are doing the heavy lifting. Hjalmarsson's bad clearing attempt turning into the game winner was a turd on an otherwise sterling evening for him.
The line of Saad, Andrew Shaw and Patrick Kane. These three were possession demons all night. They worked together to bring the Hawks back into his game, as Saad's shot was deflected for the Hawks first goal, and Shaw got the equalizer. This line will be faster and have more sting than the hornets in CT's yard. Kane should get going shortly with these two getting the puck to him.
Special teams. The power play was just not happening tonight. Early on, they had some push toward Varlamov, but then they went back to being a goat rodeo, finishing 0-for-5. Then the penalty kill, which hasn't been bad lately, gave up two goals. At some point, can these guys get it together and manage to both score with the man advantage and kill penalties? That would be swell.
Jonathan Toews was less than Toewsian tonight. He never really looked comfortable in the offensive zone, as he kept getting knocked off the puck behind the Colorado net. He wasn't great for one night. Let's move on.
Michael Handzus moves like a clock with dying batteries. At least Trucknutz isn't Patrick Kane's albatross any more.
Next up is a Friday night tilt with the red-hot Anaheim Ducks. Let's see how it plays out.