It started off so well, with Jonathan Toews potting striking first after a tic-tac-toe pass from Marian Hossa and Brandon Saad. But then the Avs tied it in the first period, and the bleeding didn’t stop for the Blackhawks, even when Bryan Bickell shot a one-timer behind Semyon Varlamov in the third period.
You could count a myriad of things as the reason for this loss. Denver is a mile high, and the lack of oxygen tires players and weakens them as the game progresses. Injury has also weakened the Blackhawks, as Patrick Sharp was officially put on the injured list with a suspected separated shoulder and will be out for three to four weeks. His shooting and playmaking was sorely lacking in the game.
Perhaps, after all this time, the compressed schedule has finally caught up with the Blackhawks. So many games with very little down time might be good in the short term, but the long-term effects can wear down a player physically and mentally and cause the sloppy play that the Blackhawks showed.
Maybe the Avs are good, and maybe they’re not. But just for tonight, they called themselves giant killers. Enjoy that status now. The Blackhawks will be back in 10 days, and they’ll be out for blood.