Hawks fall flat in opening game of Circus trip


The Hawks came out flat in their first game in their 7-game circus trip across the Western conference.  After bouncing back 5-1 against the Sharks on Tuesday, the Hawks got steamrolled against an Avs team that capitalized on every opportunity that was given to them.


Corey Crawford was pulled after 3 quick goals in the first after playing just 13:17 for Finnish netminder Antti Raanta.  Raanta made 13 stops on 15 shots in his first NHL start, albeit an abbreviated one.


The real loss for the Hawks may go far beyond 2 points, as they lost Bryan Bickell early in the contest after the forward went down and crashed into the Av’s net.  It appeared that he injured his left leg on the play, and he would go to the dressing room and not return for the rest of the night.


The Avalanche, who came into the game on a 3-game losing streak, got on the board early with a goal by Paul Stastny at 6:37 in the first.  Despite missing star forward Matt Duchene, out with an oblique injury, the Avs managed to put three goals past Crawford and two by Raanta.


One of the few bright spots in the contest was the Hawks power play in the first period.  The units applied consistent pressure and connected on their passes, generating 4 shots on goal but couldn’t get past Semyon Varlamov, who finished the night with 37 saves.


The Avs continued their barrage in the first after a turnover by Michael Roszival, sending the puck into the high slot where it was put away by captain Gabriel Landeskog at 12:21. 


Colorado would strike again less than a minute later, taking advantage of an odd hop of the board right to John Mitchell, who wasted no time wristing it over Crawford’s blocker at 13:17.  That prompted Joel Quenneville to substitute Raanta, recently called up to replace Nikolai Khabibulin, now on LTIR.  Raanta’s best stop came early on, when he stood tall against  3-on-1.


The Avs continued to pressure, however, and got their fourth goal of the night late in the second at 18:38, as PA Parenteau put the puck behind Raanta.  The Avs would finish their scoring spree at 1:44 of the third, as Cody McLeod finished a play to make it 5-0 Avalanche.  


Varlamov had a solid night, shutting the door on several good Hawks opportunities and odd-man rushes.  Chicago ended Varlamov’s shutout bid at 12:10 of the 3rd, as Brandon Saad got to the front of the net and redirected a bouncing puck past the goalie to put the Hawks on the board for their only goal of the game.


Patrick Kane celebrated his 25th birthday today with a couple of good chances, but was unable to capitalize on them in a game that was a wake-up call for the Hawks.


Three Stars of the Game

1. Semyon Varlamov: SV% .973, 37 saves, 1 GAA

2. Paul Stastny: 1 G, 1 A, 1 SOG, + 1

3. Tyson Barrie:  2 A, 2 SOG, 2 hits, +2


Quick Hits:

- The Hawks released their “One Goal II” book today in all Blackhawk store locations.  The book includes the ‘17 Seconds’ DVD as well as a video screen in the inside cover of the book. 


- The Hawks agreed to terms of a three-year contract with 2013 first round pick Ryan Hartman on Monday.  Hartman, who was selected 30th overall by the Blackhawks, has 21 points in 20 games so far with the Plymouth Whalers of the OHL, and currently leads the team in points.


-Patrick Kane turned 25 today.  In 7 seasons with the Hawks organization, Kane has played 467 regular season games, and 74 playoff games, as well as scored 160 goals and gotten 285 assists in the regular season.  He's won the Calder and Conn Smythe, as well as scored 30 game-winning goals in regular and post-season play. Stick taps to the kid from Buffao who brought back the mullet and scored the goal that brought Lord Stanley back to the Windy City.


The Hawks are back in action on Thursday as they travel to Winnipeg to face the Jets.  Game starts at 7:00 pm central time.


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