Blackhawks Blow Late Lead, Fall To Avalanche In Shootout

Not all of the goals that Colorado scored were pretty on Saturday, but it didn’t matter. After being stifled by Corey Crawford and the Blackhawks’ defense on Thursday, the Avalanche came back with a four-goal effort to win Saturday’s second leg of the home-and-home in a shootout.

It was a night that started with a big positive. Bobby Hull and Stan Mikita were honored with statues outside of the United Center, and that ceremony preceded the game. On the ice, it was a less than stellar start for the Blackhawks.

The Hawks went down 1-0 after the first period, thanks to a redirect by Paul Stastny, which left Crawford with no chance to stop it. The Hawks would respond, after Michael Frolik intercepted a pass in the slot and fired one past Semyon Varlamov for his first of the year.

Colorado’s next goal came courtesy of Ryan Jones to give them the 2-1 edge, then rookie Gabriel Landeskog took over. His goal made it 3-1 in favor of the Avs, and it wouldn’t be the last time we heard from the second overall pick from the 2011 NHL draft.

Despite going down by two goals, the Hawks would battle back. After Jonathan Toews put home a rebound for his fourth goal of the year, Jamal Mayers evened things up less than five minutes into the third period.

Late in the third period, Chicago grabbed their first lead of the game. After a great effort by Duncan Keith to keep the puck in the offensive zone, Marian Hossa deflected his shot for his fourth goal of the year to give the Hawks the 4-3 lead.

But Landeskog would have a lot to say about that. After a defensive lapse, which was not uncommon for the Blackhawks in this one, Landeskog skated in all alone on Crawford and netted one to his right with less than two minutes to go in regulation. The goal would force overtime.

Despite going into the OT on the power play, the Hawks would be unable to convert. The two would play to a shootout, which surprisingly included Viktor Stalberg as the first shooter for Chicago. While Joel Quenneville looked to be trying something different after the shootout disaster against Boston on Saturday, it wouldn’t make much of a difference. The Hawks couldn’t fit one past Varlamov, and Corey Crawford couldn’t stop Joakim Lindstrom after saving the first two shots for Colorado.

As tough a loss as it is for Chicago to swallow, the Hawks do get a point out of it. They have now gotten at least a point in every game except the season opener against Dallas. They’ll need to right the ship, defensively, ahead of Tuesday’s tilt with the Anaheim Ducks.

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