The Chicago Blackhawks defeated the Colorado Avalanche 7-2 on Friday evening. It will be a quick turnaround for the Blackhawks as they face the St. Louis Blues tomorrow evening in their 13th back to back. The Blackhawks are 10-1-1 in the second game of back to backs this year.
The Blackhawks came out early and were a little bit loose with the puck as they turned it over several times but Antti Raanta made a couple of beautiful saves including a great glove save on Ryan O’Reilly early on. Both teams were rusty after having three days off for half of the first period. But the Blackhawks would get on the board when Duncan Keith found Patrick Sharp at the blue line with a stretch pass. Sharp would fire from the right circle and beat Jean Sebastian Giguere to the far side of the net at 12:27. The Blackhawks would get on the board again when Jonathan Toews slammed a rebound home top shelf after Marian Hossa was stopped at 18:03. The Blackhawks would find themselves on the power play shortly after and they would convert. After some nice passing Patrick Sharp blasted a shot past Giguere at 19:19 from the right faceoff circle.
The Blackhawks would not let off of the gas pedal in second period. It was not a good start for Colorado as Sharp backhanded a rebound just under the left arm of Giguere 27 seconds into the second period. Perhaps the greatest play of the year was when Sharp stripped Matt Duchene of the puck on a one on none breakaway lifting his stick behind him. Sharp connected with Toews on a stretch pass and Toews skated in with extreme patience and put the puck in the net at 8:21. The Avalanche would stop the avalanche of goals as Paul Stastny put in a rebound at 9:07. But the Blackhawks would keep pouring it on as Patrick Kane skated past the crease and found Michal Handzus for a tap in goal at 13:30. A pass by Keith would be knocked down by a Colorado defenseman and Kris Versteeg snapped a shot to the short side of Giguere.
The third period didn’t feature much action but Gabriel Landeskog scored at 7:37 to cap off the scoring.
What it means
The Blackhawks routed the Avalanche and are the first team to reach 60 points this year. The Blackhawks improved to 14-2-5 at home as they reach the halfway point of the season.
3 stars of the game
3. Duncan Keith- It was a great game for Keith who recorded three assists. Keith now has 33 assists on the year in 40 games.
2. Jonathan Toews- The captain erased a lot of concerns about his scoring as he had two goals and two assists. Toews was aggressive all night long and was a plus two with six shots on goal. It has been a good year for Toews who has 15 goals and 23 assists.
1. Patrick Sharp- Nobody has been hotter than Sharp who recorded his third career hat trick. Sharp had three goals and one assist and was a plus four on the night. In 12 games in December, Sharp has scored 11 goals and now has 21 for the year.