10 observations: Blackhawks shut out for 8th time after loss to Avalanche
10 observations: Hawks shut out for 8th time after loss to Avs originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago
The Blackhawks were blanked by the Colorado Avalanche 5-0 at Ball Arena on Monday.
Here are 10 observations from the loss:
1. The score doesn't look great, but I didn't think the Blackhawks played all that badly, at least through two periods. The mistakes they made on the goals against were just glaring, which is why the result looks worse than it actually was. The Avalanche scored two goals late in the third period to completely pull away.
2. The Blackhawks' first power-play of the game was pretty good, picking up where they left off on Saturday. The second one, not so much. You have to win the special teams battle to give yourself a chance to beat the Avalanche, but that's obviously easier said than done. The Avalanche scored on their only power-play of the night.
3. Ian Mitchell drew back into the lineup, and he got dragged through the mud on Denis Malgin's first goal in the second period, but the play started because of a turnover in the offensive zone after Boris Katchouk tried sweeping the puck toward the net, which got blocked and led to an odd-man rush. It's important to note as well that Mitchell was playing on the left side, which isn't somewhere he's used to playing, especially as a right-handed shot defenseman. The first goal for Colorado — a shot by Kurtis MacDermid from the point — went in off Mitchell's shin pad, and that was just an unfortunate break.
4. Alex Stalock has been awesome all season long, and he turned in one of his best stops in the first period. It was a desperation stick save on Nathan MacKinnon, who couldn't believe he was robbed.
5. If you felt like the first period went by very slowly, that's because it did. There were 19 stoppages in 20 minutes. In fact, there were more usuals than normal, 50 to be exact. Yuck.
6. The fourth line of MacKenzie Entwistle, Mike Hardman and Buddy Robinson was terrific in the last game against Arizona. That trio had a tough night though against Colorado. When the three of them were on the ice together at even strength, the Avalanche led 14-4 in shot attempts and 7-2 in scoring chances, per Natural Stat Trick.
7. I will say this: Hardman took an absolute beating in this game. He blocked three shots, all of which came off the stick of Avalanche defenseman Brad Hunt. The first two came on one shift, and the third one happened in the third period. Every single one of them left Hardman in some serious pain. He might sleep in the ice tub after the game.
8. The Blackhawks were shut out for the eighth time this season, which matches their total from last season. The offense is starting to dry up a bit. It's the third straight game the Blackhawks have scored two goals or fewer.
9. Jack Johnson played against the Blackhawks for the first time since being traded back to Colorado. It shouldn't be underestimated what he did for Chicago this season. He logged the second-most minutes of any player prior to the trade and helped shelter some of the heavier workloads from the younger players. Job accomplished, and now he gets to assist Colorado in defending a Stanley Cup that he was a part of. Feels like yesterday Johnson joined his former — now current — teammates on the ice in a Blackhawks sweater on Opening Night during the banner-raising ceremony. Happy for him.
10. Bad news for Colorado: Cale Makar did not play after tweaking something last game. The good news? Gabriel Landeskog skated with the team for the first time in months, albeit in a non-contact jersey. If the Avalanche can get fully healthy by the time the playoffs roll around, what a brutal first-round matchup that would be for their opponent.
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