Going into the Tuesday night contest in Denver, Colorado, the Avalanche and the Blackhawks were both on five game losing streaks. After a solid overall performance by the Burgundy and Blue, the Avs topped the now free falling Hawks 5-2. It was the first time the team scored five or more goals since November 30th with a 6-1 victory over the New Jersey Devils.
The worst part about the Avalanche’s recent losing streak is that they lost all five games by only a goal, including a shootout loss on Saturday, in which the team was ahead going into the final minute of the third period. The win gives the Avs 57 points, only one point out of the final playoff spot in the Western conference.
The top two lines provided the scoring for the Avalanche on Tuesday night against the Hawks. A revamped first line included Ryan O’Reilly, Peter Mueller and Gabriel Landeskog. The second line included Paul Stastny, Milan Hejduk and David Jones. Each line accounted for two goals, with Defenseman Kyle Quincey adding an empty net goal at the end of the game.
The Blackhawks were the first to strike in the second period with Brent Seabrook igniting the largely Blackhawks crowd. The Avalanche countered with two goals in the second, Peter Mueller from O’Reilly and David Jones from Hejduk. The Blackhawks tied the game at the end of the second with Patrick Kane scoring.
The third period was all Avalanche. Gabriel Landeskog scored just 38 seconds into the third followed by Jones notching his second of the night. Stastny had assists on both goals. All four goals were highlight goals for a team trying to gain confidence heading into the stretch. Jones had three points on the night and finally seemed to be returning to form.
The Blackhawks did not play a terrible game. They did not go to the box all night and pushed the play throughout the contest. There seems to be a lack chemistry for Chicago right now. The team’s forwards seemed lost at times. Marian Hossa was so lost that I was not sure he was playing until the second period. For the Avalanche, the win was finally a way for the team to return to the playoff hunt.