DENVER – Slow start, so-so middle, meh ending.
That pretty much sums this one up, except for the Quick Hits. So let’s get to the notables from the Blackhawks 4-3 overtime loss to the Colorado Avalanche.
What Worked: Scott Darling. In fact, he worked way more than he should have in this one. Darling was bombarded from the start and the Avalanche had way too many quality opportunities against him. Darling faced 51 shots, stopping 47 of them. The backup goaltender didn’t get enough help in this one, and it doesn’t matter if Colorado’s in the basement: they still have enough skill to finish off a few.
What Didn’t Work: The power play. We’re not talking about the one power-play goal the Blackhawks scored, we’re talking about the two shorthanded goals they gave up. Lackadaisical plays led to both, the first a 2-on-1 finished by Matt Duchene and the other a wraparound by Gabriel Landeskog. We understand the Blackhawks aren’t playing for anything but they had to be more attentive on those.
Star of the game: Matt Duchene. You could put Darling in here too, despite the loss. But since we talked about him above let’s talk about Duchene here. He was a big part of the Avalanche comeback, recording a goal and two assists. Duchene also had five of the team’s 51 shots and went 6-for-10 in the faceoff circle.
He Said It: “You want to get up for every game. The playoffs are two games away and you want to play every one like it’s a playoff game just to get our bodies and ourselves amped up and ready for the playoffs. That’s not the way we wanted to start. So let’s regroup, have a better first period – actually all three periods – on Thursday.” Ryan Hartman on finding motivation down the stretch.
By the Numbers:
47 – Stops for Darling, a career high. The 51 shots were also the most the Blackhawks have given up this season. They had given up 44 shots in two games this season (vs. Minnesota on March 12 and vs. Dallas on March 23).
30 – Goals for Artemi Panarin, equaling a career best set last season.
9 – Games Duchene had gone without a point before his three-point night against the Blackhawks.