Takeaways: Blackhawks fall to Avalanche in Chicago

Scott King

The Blackhawks lost 5-2 against the Colorado Avalanche on Friday. Here are five takeaways:

Breaking the chain

Corey Crawford got the net. It was his second consecutive start after stopping all 32 Dallas Stars' shots at the United Center in Tuesday's 3-0 shutout for the Hawks, and his first time starting consecutive games since Nov. 7 and Nov. 9.

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The Blackhawks had rotated goalies every game for the past nine contests prior to Friday. Hawks head coach Jeremy Colliton said before the game that Crawford's stellar performance on Tuesday was one of the reasons he was back between the pipes, as well as the Blackhawks heading to Colorado on Saturday for the conclusion of the back-to-back, home-to-home set with the Avalanche. 

Crawford had been so impressive that for the month of November he had a .941 save percentage to Robin Lehner's .939.

Lehner's incredible play from the start of the season hasn't taken a hit as he's 2-1-1 in his past four games with a .942 save percentage and the best save percentage in the league (.938) on the season among goalies with at least 10 starts. 

Perhaps Colliton and the Hawks should have continued alternating goalies every game as the Avalanche had five goals on 13 shots 11:26 into the second period. Nathan MacKinnon had four points against the Blackhawks including a goal and two assists in the first. It was the first time the Hawks allowed three goals in the first period and just the fourth they've allowed two or more. 

Regardless of back-to-backs and matchups, as strange as it seemed earlier in the season, Colliton should just let the goalies rotate every game. Goaltending has been the Blackhawks' biggest strength all season and the unorthodox rhythm of the rotation seemed to help generate it. 

Oddly enough, the Hawks' biggest weakness all season, shot suppression, was on point with the defense only allowing 23 shots, tying their lowest total of the season (October 24 against the Philadelphia Flyers). 

He Kane do it

Patrick Kane extended his point streak to 14 games. He has 23 points (10 goals, 13 assists) on the streak. Kane scored off a backhand with four seconds remaining in the second period to cut the Avalanche lead to 5-2.

Keith injury 

Duncan Keith did not return for the third period after suffering a groin injury. His last shift of the game was during Valeri Nichushkin's breakaway goal where he spent a few strides chasing the play. 

Wanna go?

Once again, Andrew Shaw played Energizer Bunny to help the Hawks pick their heads up after getting into a 2-0 hole 3:17 into the first period on Friday. Shaw dropped the gloves with Avalanche defenseman Ryan Graves at 5:25 and amped up the crowd on his way to the penalty box.

Shaw's approach seemed to work as Zack Smith's goal came less than four minutes later after the Hawks began to dictate the pace, to cut Colorado's lead to 2-1.

Shaw leads the Hawks with 31 penalty minutes.

See you around 

The Blackhawks and Avalanche will see a lot of each other in the next few weeks. After Saturday in Colorado, the Hawks play the Avs. on December 18 at home and December 21 in Colorado to complete the four-game series for the season. 

The Blackhawks are 1-2-2 in the first game of a back-to-back and 4-0-0 in the second. 

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Takeaways: Blackhawks fall to Avalanche in Chicago originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago

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