In our preview of the Chicago Blackhawks’ current road trip, we spelled out just what the Hawks had to fuel them in their matchup with the Colorado Avalanche on Monday night. Revenge was the name of the game, as the Hawks were looking to avenge a truly hideous defeat at the hands of this team at the Pepsi Center earlier in the month.
They did exactly that, beating the snot out of Colorado in a 5-2 drubbing. Ray Emery stood tall in the game, making 17 saves and taking his record to 11-0-0 on the season.
What else stood out about the Hawks’ victory? We’ll look to Madhouse Enforcer’s Three Stars of the game for answers.
Third Star: The Defense
The Blackhawks’ game is predicated on solid defense and puck possession, and both of those things were on full display. No matter what line was on the ice, or what pairing were playing on the blue line (although Niklas Hjalmarsson did stand out in the contest), they were able to keep possessions going in the offensive zone, and were quick to disrupt any offensive rhythm Colorado attempted to start.
Perhaps the most telling thing of all in terms of the way the defense played was the nearly 16 minutes the team played after Colorado’s second goal where they didn’t allow the Avs a single shot. It was a breathtaking display, and it was all the Hawks needed to stifle Colorado and put the game away early.
Second Stars: Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews
There have been a slew of occasions throughout their careers that the Hawks’ two superstars have carried the team, but their collective skills were on display Monday like perhaps never before.
For Kane, he ended up with three points despite being double-shifted after an injury shut down Marian Hossa, and his goal was an absolute thing of beauty, scoring from right on the goal line with a wicked wrister off the pipe and into the net.
As for Toews, he had three points as well, and his goal was an equally impressive snipe, coming on the rush and zipping over goaltender Semyon Varlamov’s shoulder.
First Star: Joel Quenneville
The old saying in sports is that coaches lose far more games than they win, but credit absolutely has to be given to Quenneville in this game. His line shuffling after the Hossa injury early on ended up working to perfection, and he showed zero reluctance in running out any of his players, as every single player besides Hossa played at least 12 minutes in this one.
In addition, there was one moment during the game that really stood out. After Brent Seabrook was made to look silly on an insane short-handed rush by Colorado Captain Gabriel Landeskog, Quenneville ended up benching his defenseman for almost nine minutes to start the second period.
Apparently, the punishment for poor hustle lit a fire under Seabrook, because on his second shift out after the benching, he took an excellent pass from Kane and fired a shot past Varlamov. The Hawks will look to go four for four on their road trip when they take on the second place team in the Western Conference, the Anaheim Ducks, on Wednesday night in southern California.