The Blackhawks won 5-3 against the Colorado Avalanche on Saturday with four unanswered third-period goals. Here are four takeaways:
Slaying the giant
The Blackhawks, 0-3-0 and outscored 16-6 in three previous matchups against the Avalanche this season, had won two of the last three games heading into Colorado to take on the Central Division and Western Conference's second place team. Saturday was the last of four regular season meetings between the Hawks and Avs.
Chicago had more energy and purpose than they did in any of the other three games against Colorado and during their season overall.
They asserted themselves against the Avalanche in the first period despite exiting the opening frame down 1-0. The Hawks stepped it up in the second with more physicality and outshot Colorado 15 to 10 in the second despite being outscored 2-1 in the period.
The final period would have a flare for the dramatic. Trailing 3-1 at 11:22 of the third, Patrick Kane scored his 20th goal of the season. Kirby Dach would tie it 3-3 28 seconds later and Dominik Kubalik made it 4-3 Hawks at 16:43. Connor Murphy scored into the empty net at 19:21 for good measure to make the final score 5-3.
Let's get physical
Defenseman Dennis Gilbert has been providing some sandpaper for the Blackhawks since he was recalled from Rockford on Dec. 4. Gilbert put a big hit on Avalanche captain Gabriel Landeskog at 7:29 of the first period, knocking him straight back onto the ice. Duncan Keith punished Joonas Donskoi with a hard hip-check, knocking him down at 9:43 of the second period.
Gilbert and Landeskog dropped the gloves at 8:30 of the second. The Blackhawks welcomed the trade-off as Landeskog is a top line player who has 13 points in 19 games with Colorado this season.
Led by Gilbert and Keith's physical play, the rest of the Hawks answered Keith's call for more fire and energy that he made on Wednesday when Chicago lost 4-1 to the Avalanche at the United Center.
"We gotta get a little more emotion," Keith said following Wednesday's game. "It’s not gonna just turn around, it’s not gonna just happen. We need to make it happen. We need to get a little pissed off.
"We can go over the Xs and Os and everything and all the stuff. But I think everybody, myself included, has to play with a little more energy, a little more grit, being a little mean out there, I don’t know."
Early bird gets the worm
The Blackhawks have scored five goals within the first minute of a period in the past week. Jonathan Toews scored 21 seconds into the second period on Saturday, Alex Nylander scored 59 seconds into the first and Kubalik scored 37 seconds into the third on Thursday in Winnipeg, and Brandon Saad scored 19 seconds into the second and 30 seconds into the third in St. Louis last Saturday.
Kane 1K Watch
After one goal and one assist in Colorado, Kane sits at 983 career points.
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