The Colorado Avalanche got off to a decent enough start but came up fruitless in their second shutout in less than a week and the third on the season falling 4-0 to the Chicago Blackhawks. After failing to convert on two straight power plays, Colorado then saw Chicago go down and score on their next two shots roughly 40 seconds apart. Johnathan Toews out worked Patrick Wiercoich and punched in a juicy rebound right in front of the goal crease at 14:25 and then Marian Hossa beat Fedor Tyutin one on one to put a nice wrist shot past Varlamov at 15:03. The Blackhawks were not finished scoring as Hossa added another tally 55 seconds into the third period and then Artemi Panarin capped off the scoring with a late goal at 12:40.
While the final score in this game was certainly ugly, there are a few items to keep in perspective. It’s the easy thing to fault the big guns for not scoring but Tyson Barrie, Matt Duchene, Mikhail Grigorenko, Nathan MacKinnon, Gabe Landeskog and Mikko Rantanen combined for 22 shots on goal with each generating at least three. Colorado also outshot Chicago 38 to 21 in the contest with at least 12 shots in the period and ended with 58% Corsi for percentage. Where things went wrong were failing to convert on the two early power plays and allowing Chicago to score two quick goals and control the game until Colorado took it back late in the second period with a couple great shifts as took a 10-0 shot run headed into the second intermission.
Three Keys to the Game
First and foremost, special teams are what kicked off the momentum swing in Chicago’s favor after the two failed power plays in the first period. The second power play did manage to generate five shots on goal but it wasn’t enough to get one in the back of the net. The other two power plays Colorado had in the game did not manage to generate any shots. Colorado kept minor penalties (two) to a minimum and killed both off.
Goaltending might not tell the whole story in this game because Semyon Varlamov was hung out to dry on most of the goals which came off breakdowns and turnovers that gave him little chance. However, the first goal was created off an ugly rebound and no doubt changed the momentum of the game. While the Avalanche are learning to win by not relying on goaltending they still need more consistency in net.
Speaking of consistency, the entire team needs to find it. Too many lulls and lapses in play are happening and when the puck isn’t finding the back of the net any adversity feels like an insurmountable climb. Lack of scoring isn’t just on the top forward’s shoulders but the defense and depth needs to contribute to compensate and prevent nights like these from happening. As long as they keep creating scoring chances the goals will come but in the meantime the Avalanche need to find a mark of consistency to balance the highs with the lows.
Up Next: The first matchup in the season series with the Minnesota Wild home at the Pepsi Center on Saturday, November 5th at 1pm MT