Blackhawks stun Avalanche with third-period binge
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[March 20, 2017]
CHICAGO -- For the better part
of 50 minutes Sunday night, it appeared the Chicago Blackhawks'
winning streak had reached its end. But in a span of 34 seconds,
everything changed, as a flurry of sudden offense allowed the
Blackhawks to keep rolling.
The Blackhawks went from down two goals to scoring five third-period
goals -- including two by captain Jonathan Toews -- as Chicago won
its fifth straight game with a 6-3 victory over the Colorado
Avalanche. The win combined with a Los Angeles Kings loss means the
Blackhawks clinched their ninth consecutive playoff spot.
Artemi Panarin scored the game-winner and Toews had a pair of goals
in the third when the Blackhawks (47-20-5) tallied four times in
three minutes to erase a 3-1 deficit. Three of the goals came in a
"I think we all kind of collectively made that decision to play
better," Toews said. "We were just looking for that first bounce and
maybe we can put some pressure on them and see if they make a few
mistakes. Obviously, we got a few bounces around their net to get
ahead in the game. So just once we got that first one, things
started clicking for us."
Down the two goals midway through the final period, Toews drew the
Blackhawks closer when he redirected a Duncan Keith shot and pushed
it past Avalanche goalie Jeremy Smith, who hadn't allowed a goal
since the first period.
Avalanche coach Jared Bednar immediately challenged the goal after
it appeared Toews was offside. But after a video review, officials
in the NHL situation room in Toronto determined it was inconclusive
as to whether Richard Panik touched the puck before Toews crossed
the blue line while attempting to avoid being offsides. The goal
Afterward, Bednar said it wasn't the call that changed the game's
flow, but instead, how his team failed to respond. The Avalanche
(20-48-3) allowed at least four third period goals for the second
time in two nights.
"For me, it's 3-2 with 9 1/2 minutes to go -- that gives them a
little life," Bednar said. "It's what we do after that that bothers
me. That call there is the least of what bugs me about how that game
Panik scored 17 seconds after Toews' controversial goal to tie the
game at 3 before Panarin gave Chicago a 4-3 lead 17 seconds later.
Toews continued the scoring barrage with his second goal to break
the game open. Marcus Kruger tallied an empty-net goal to close out
Chicago's 17th win in its last 20 games.
"That was a pretty amazing couple of minutes there," said Blackhawks
goalie Scott Darling, who made 22 saves. "It seemed like it broke
the dam and we just kept pouring it on...It was pretty impressive
and pretty clutch by our team."
Colorado led 3-1 after two periods.
With the Avalanche clinging to a one-goal lead, Sven Andrighetto
widened the gap with less than four minutes remaining in the second
period when he redirected a Mark Barberio shot past Darling to
provide some breathing room.
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Blackhawks defenseman Niklas Hjalmarsson (4) and center Nick
Schmaltz (8)) celebrate after a goal during the third period of the
game against the Colorado Avalanche at United Center. Mandatory
Credit: Caylor Arnold-USA TODAY Sports
Mikhail Grigorenko provided the Avalanche with a 2-1 lead with just
under five minutes to play in the first period. Grigorenko rattled a
shot past Darling for his second goal of the night as Colorado
erased an early deficit.
His first goal came directly in front of Darling when Grigorenko
found the puck on his stick after the Blackhawks failed to clear the
Patrick Kane gave Chicago a 1-0 lead with his 32nd goal of the
season. But it wasn't until the pivotal stretch in the third period
when the Blackhawks rediscovered their offense.
"It was a tremendous comeback," coach Joel Quenneville said. "(The)
second period was tough watching us turn good scoring chances into
nothing. (In the) third period, we got one, and all of a sudden, we
got a lot more comfortable in the scoring areas. It definitely
changed the whole complexion right there."
NOTES: Avalanche G Jeremy Smith made his first start since March 5
after Calvin Pickard allowed five goals Saturday against Detroit.
Coach Jared Bednar said he planned to give each a start in the
back-to-back games and went with Pickard on Saturday after a strong
start against the Red Wings on March 15. ... C Mikhail Grigorenko
replaced John Mitchell on Colorado's third line. ... Avalanche D
Cody Goloufbef and D Patrick Wiercioch were also scratched. ...
Blackhawks RW Marian Hossa missed his second straight game with a
lower-body injury. Coach Joel Quenneville said before Sunday's game
Hossa would likely play. ... G Scott Darling made the start, his
second since March 1, on Sunday in net after Corey Crawford had
appeared in four of Chicago's five last games. ... D Johnny Oduya
(rest) sat out with the Blackhawks playing for the second time in
two nights. .... Chicago C Dennis Rasmussen and D Michal Rozsival
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