The Blackhawks faced off against Colorado last night with a lot to prove. They needed to come out and take two points, on the road, against a very beatable team. It wasn’t pretty but in the end, the Hawks were victorious.
Nick Schmaltz was the first goal-scorer for the Hawks in the 1st period at 2:38, though Colorado’s Matt Duchene responded with a goal five minutes later. Brent Seabrook would score at 12:50 to put the Hawks back on top for the remainder of the period.
Colorado would score three times in the 2nd, from the likes of Blake Comeau, Matt Nieto, and Matt Duchene again. Tenner Kero was the lone goal-scorer for Chicago, would would trail 4-3 after 40 minutes of play. Tonight was not a signature night for either goaltender obviously.
The Blackhawks responded exactly how they needed to in the 3rd period, getting back-to-back goals on back-to-back shifts from Vinnie Hinostroza (5:10, 8:11), and another goal from Tanner Kero during an empty net situation. The Blackhawks played their game in the 3rd, and it ultimately was the difference in the game.
Corey Crawford stopped 19 of 23 shots in what could be argued as one of his weakest performances of the season. His performance was enough, however.
Semyon Varlamov stopped 21 of 26 shots and continues to struggle this season. No team can make a playoff run without steady goaltending, but no team can have excellent goaltending without a little bit of defensive help either.
Vinnie Hinostroza was the player of the game (2 goals), though there were a couple other candidates for that spot. Tanner Kero had 3 points on the night (2 goals, 1 assist), and Marian Hossa had 3 assists and was a team-high plus-4 on the night.
Overall, a very necessary win for Chicago, who travels to Boston for a friday night matchup with the Bruins (6:00 pm CST). THe Blackhawks need to begin to take steps in the right direction. A win against the feisty Bruins would certainly be a good start.
Happy Hump Day.