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For the Colorado Avalanche, the understanding was this season would be a painful one where results may not reflect the reality of a improved process under new head coach Jared Bednar. Tonight’s game against the Chicago Blackhawks was certainly proof of that.
Another game, another first period where the Avalanche outshot their opponent but Blackhawks goaltender Corey Crawford kept them off the score sheet and the stars showed up. Chicago captain Jonathan Toews scored on a rebound from a Duncan Keith shot to give them a 1-0 lead at 14:25. Chicago would expose a leaky Avalanche defense when Marian Hossa broke in on a clean breakaway behind Fedor Tyutin and his perfectly placed shot made it 2-0 38 seconds later.
Down two in the second period, the Avalanche came out flat and allowed Chicago to dictate the first fifteen minutes. The final five, however, belonged to Colorado as they thoroughly dominated the Blackhawks but still didn’t manage to score and went into the third period down by two.
Instead of jumping on a Chicago team just going through the motions, more leaky defense from Colorado left Hossa in alone again and the future Hall of Fame winger beat Semyon Varlamov with another perfect shot to make it 3-0 just 55 seconds into the third period.
Colorado had a chance to make a game of it but did nothing on their power play and Chicago burned Colorado for taking chances and Patrick Kane found Artemi Panarin for an easy one-time goal that made it 4-0.
1. Corey Crawford
2. Marian Hossa
3. Duncan Keith
PLAY OF THE GAME/TURNING POINT
With Crawford absolutely locked in, the Toews goal was all Chicago needed tonight. He did a great job fighting off the stick check of Patrick Wiercioch and getting to the sloppy rebound Varlamov was unaware he allowed.
BY THE NUMBERS
Corey Crawford has stopped 223 of his last 227 shots for a .982 save percentage.
Colorado returns home for an afternoon tilt Saturday against the Minnesota Wild. Puck drop is scheduled for 1 p.m. local time.