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Enhanced Box Score: Avalanche 4, Blackhawks 3 — January 4, 2022

Chicago Blackhawks

So, how about that Marc-André Fleury save in the first period of tonight’s contest?

You never know when you’re going to see the play that changes a game, and you often overlook it when it happens early in a contest as Fleury’s did, but I’ll say it again, that was a game-saver late in the first period. The Blackhawks, losers of back-to-back games since the ball dropped on 2022, having been outscored 11-2, were staring down a potential three-goal deficit after one period had Fleury not made one of the best saves we’ve seen this season.

The Blackhawks were out-scored in the first period by a pair of goals, and they were out-shot 14-5 in the first period, but the tides turned after the first intermission, and the Blackhawks began to get a hold of this one.

First, it was Jonathan Toews getting dirty in front of the net to cut the Colorado lead to just one early in the second period. The goal was number four for Tiews on the season, with MacKenzie Entwistle getting the helper.

There would be no more action on the scoreboard in the second, but it was advantage Blackhawks if we were going to the scorer’s card like a boxing match. The Blackhawks did a great job gumming up the neutral zone and breaking up Colorado’s looks at the net, and they significantly impacted the speed of the Avs, their deadliest asset.

Then, like death and taxes, Alex DeBrincat did his thing on the power play. Not once, but twice, in a matter of 40 seconds.

With the five-on-three advantage, the Blackhawks did an excellent job playing tic-tac-toe to set up the DeBrincat rocket one-timer to cut the deficit to one goal, and then Patrick Kane found DeBrincat in front of the net for the equalizer. The goals for DeBrincat were No.’s 19 & 20 on the season, the 12th and 13th time that Patrick Kane has logged a primary assist on a DeBrincat score.

Unfortunately, the Avs would tie the game up on this Erik Johnson goal, his second of the night.

But should the Erik Johnson goal have counted after Bowen Byram drilled Alex DeBrincat in the face with his stick just seconds before the goal by Johnson? The ultimate ruling was no penalty because the contact came on the follow-through, and the game was tied at three-a-piece.

The Colorado Avalanche came into this one 11-0-0 this season when leading after the first period, and even though we got some free hockey tonight, they stayed perfect. They moved to 12-0-0 when leading after one, thanks to Cale Makar’s FILTHY game-winning goal in overtime.

How can you even be mad at that? Like, we can only envy the incredible beauty of a goal like that, no matter who scores it. Cale Makar is sooooo good. So, Fleury’s save didn’t result in a Blackhawks win, but it most certainly allowed them to make a game of this and erase an early two-goal deficit to earn a point against the Avs.

You can find the complete box score here!



Author: Patrick K. Flowers

Patrick is a Staff Writer at Bleacher Nation. You can follow him on Twitter @PatrickKFlowers.