Saturday, December 24, 2016

Crawford Returns, But Blackhawks Fall to Avalanche, 2-1 In OT

Corey Crawford, 32 saves, played his first game in 3 weeks, and Jonathan Toews scored his first goal since the Sunday after the Chicago Cubs won the World Series, but neither were enough to defeat a desperate Colorado Avalanche team that came into the United Center with a 5-game losing streak.  The Blackhawks fell to the Avs 2-1 in overtime.

Colorado came in and tried to take control early taking nine of the first ten shots of the game.  Crawford was up to the task and was sharp in his first action after his emergency appendectomy in early December.  The Blackhawks came back to end the period scoreless but with shots in favor of Colorado, 13-12.

In the 2nd, Toews finally broke his 13 game goal drought when he took an Artemi Panarin pass right in the blue paint and slammed it into the back of the net on the power play, his 5th of the year, for a 1-0, Blackhawks lead.  The Hawks had more chances to extend the lead as they had 4 power plays, but Avalanche goaltender, Calvin Pickard, 38 saves, was there to repel the remaining shots that the Hawks had to offer on the night.

 After the Hawks controlled the 2nd period, but with only a 1 goal lead, the Avalanche pressed the Hawks and broke through when Mikko Rantanen redirected a Tyson Barrie shot behind Crawford to tie the game at 1, 5:42 into the 3rd period.  It stayed that way, mainly due to the play of Crawford throughout the game as it would go to overtime.  Just :25 into the overtime frame, Nathan MacKinnon wristed a shot over Crawford's glove on an odd man break to end the game.

Notable Mentions:  The Blackhawks are now 13-0-1 this year when leading after 2 periods.  Jonathan Toews was a force tonight as he won 20 of 28 faceoffs, had 7 shots, and scored the lone goal for the Hawks.  The Hawks don't play again until Tuesday.  A much needed rest for a team that has many of it's members ailing, Artem Anisimov, Marian Hossa, who were both scratches for tonight's game.  Toews and Brent Seabrook have been back for the last few games, but rest can only help them along with the rest of the team who have played more games than only 5 others in the league (36 games - NY Rangers, Flyers, Bruins, Flames, and Jets).

3 Stars of the Game:
1st - COL - Calvin Pickard - 38 saves, .974 SV%
2nd - CHI - Corey Crawford - 32 saves, .941 SV%
3rd - CHI - Jonathan Toews - PPG, 7 shots, 71 FO%

Next game: Tuesday, December 27th, Home, versus Winnipeg Jets, 7:30PM CT, TV-CSN-CH, Radio - WGN720-AM


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