Hawks Insider

Makar scores highlight-reel goal in OT as Blackhawks fall to Avs

/ by Charlie Roumeliotis
Presented By Nationwide Insurance Agent Jeff Vukovich
Hawks Insider
Cale Makar

The Blackhawks were looking to end a four-game winless skid at the United Center on Tuesday but were faced with a big challenge against the Colorado Avalanche, who just might be the Stanley Cup favorites. And it showed.

Twenty minutes into the game and the Blackhawks looked outmatched.

Colorado had 28 shot attempts, 14 shots on goal, 12 scoring chances and five-high danger chances in the opening frame compared to Chicago's seven attempts, four shots on goal, one scoring chance and zero high-danger chances, according to Natural Stat Trick. As a result, the Blackhawks found themselves in an early 2-0 hole.

"I didn’t think we were too bad," interim head coach Derek King said. "We just made some mistakes early and then we cleaned it up."

The script completely flipped in the second period, where the Blackhawks dominated in shot attempts (27-14), shots on goal (17-7), scoring chances (17-6) and high-danger chances (11-1). Jonathan Toews cut the lead in half when he cleaned up a rebound in front of the net for his fourth goal in eight games, and it gave Chicago some life.

"We just recognized Flower made a couple of huge saves, [Connor Murphy' stepped up and dropped the gloves to try and give us energy," Toews said. "We just recognized that and guys responded. When we settle in, we relax and we create some traffic and make things harder for their forwards to get on our D-men, just one thing leads to another.

"We’re just playing more connected as five guys out there and everyone's job gets a little easier. It's nice to see that confidence build when we play with energy and start to play with the puck."

 

Less than three minutes into the third period, the Blackhawks took their first lead of the night when Patrick Kane and Alex DeBrincat connected twice in a 40-second span on the power play. It was a much-needed confidence boost after the Blackhawks had only one power-play goal in their previous four games.

"They’re dynamic players, right?" King said. "I thought [DeBrincat] played well. Kaner, he was flying out there. That’s the fastest I’ve seen him skate since I’ve been here. He was focused and wanted to win this hockey game."

The Avalanche eventually tied it up at the 11:44 mark of the third period after Erik Johnson scored his second goal of the game. His shot from a poor angle went off Blackhawks defenseman Jake McCabe's stick and in, which was an unfortunate break.

And in overtime, Cale Makar scored one of the best goals you'll see this season when he spun around Kirby Dach then went forehand-backhand twice to beat Marc-Andre Fleury, who was solid in his first start since Dec. 17.

"He’s a pretty special player and he’s going to be a great player for a long time in this league," Calvin de Haan said following a 4-3 loss. "It is what it is. He made a good play and it’s going to be all over the NHL Network tomorrow."

Toews, who looked like a different player from the second period and on, came so close to winning it in overtime after dancing around a couple of Avalanche before hitting the post on the shot.

"You want to find a way to end the game there," Toews said. "Close one but yeah, you want those back when you feel like you can do something a little different. Hindsight’s 20-20."

The Blackhawks may have picked up a point, but they've dropped five in a row as they prepare to hit the road for three straight. They know they need to start turning one point into two and get on a roll.

"We need to start getting two points out of these games," King said. "We’ll take the point. We played a great hockey game, played against a great hockey team and I think that’s some confidence going into this road trip, which is a big road trip for us."

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