The statistics were just not on the side of the Blackhawks tonight. On paper, on the computer, on the ice, the Avalanche are better than the Blackhawks and are just a wagon of a team. Especially at home, where Colorado has not lost in now 16-straight games. With a 2-0 result tonight, the Avalanche extend their home winning streak, while the Blackhawks fall to 15-20-7 on the season, 14-11-5 under interim head coach Derek King. Chicago has now dropped their last four in-a-row, going 0-2-2 over that stretch and are 4-5-3 in the month of January.
After putting in an unexpectedly decent first period of play, out-shooting the Avalanche 10-8 in the first 20 minutes and keeping the game scoreless, the Blackhawks got pummeled by the Avalanche in the second period with a 14-7 shots on goals difference in favor of Colorado. They also got on the board with a powerplay goal from NHL All-Star Nazem Kadri.
— Colorado Avalanche (@Avalanche) January 25, 2022
Chicago’s best gameplan tonight would have been to not give the Avalanche any powerplay time, but that’s almost virtually impossible. If it weren’t for Marc-André Fleury in the second period tonight, the game could have been over after 40 minutes of play. Fleury deserved better in this one, making 27 of 29 saves on the night, with a number of high-quality desperation saves mixed-in.
Holding the Avalanche to just a 1-0 lead into the third period felt sort of like a “win” for Chicago nearing the mid-way point of the final period. But of course, with the Avalanche, it’s just a matter of time before the game is out of reach.
The waiting game, played perfectly by Mikko Rantanen. pic.twitter.com/LKiT4SOe1P
— Sportsnet (@Sportsnet) January 25, 2022
Mikko Rantanen scored his 22nd of the season with a nice display of patience, aided by a defensive breakdown by the Blackhawks, to give Colorado the 2-0 lead. Might as well have been a 5-0 lead. Trying to pull out all the stops late in the game, Avalanche goaltender Pavel Francouz shut the door on the Blackhawks and completed his shutout effort, his second of the season and third in his career, making all 24 saves he was asked to make.
Sometimes you are just beat by a better team.
Chicago will see the Avalanche again this week, playing them in Chicago on Friday night. The Blackhawks will be back in action on Wednesday night as they travel to Detroit to face the rival Red Wings.
Find the full box score here.