Blackhawks 0, Avalanche 5 — Three Stars, Key Takeaways

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Blackhawks 0, Avalanche 5 — Three Stars, Key Takeaways

Chicago Blackhawks

Coming into this game in Denver, the last time the Blackhawks were shut out this season was back on Valentine’s Day in Montreal — a stretch of 17 games. When you consider the players who have left, either by trade or injury, since then, that’s a fairly impressive reality. But the Avalanche put that to the test; they came into this game skating incredibly well. Unfortunately the five goals against was easily too many… and scoring one wasn’t in the cards tonight.

Star 1: Alex Stalock

If a guy stops 15 of 18 shots, you would think he was having a mediocre night. That was far from the case for Stalock at the end of the second period when the Blackhawks were down 3-0 in Denver. The Hawks probably should have been chasing three after the first period — and the one that went in (off Ian Mitchell‘s skate) wasn’t one of their good chances. Stalock was fantastic. The Avs are just a really good team playing arguably the best hockey in the Western Conference (if not the entire NHL) right now.

Star 2: Ian Mitchell’s Skates

Colorado’s first goal was headed about eight feet wide of the net, but caught Mitchell’s feet on the way by and redirected into the net. Colorado’s fifth goal was a bouncing puck that bounded over and hit Mitchell in the feet again and ricocheted into the net again. Unfortunately for Mitchell, the two goals that were scored off his body counted for the wrong team in his return to Denver where he was a star at DU.

Star 3: Jujhar Khaira

A guy who has spent so much time dealing with physical issues over the past two seasons has really emerged as a solid contributor over the past few weeks since the trade deadline. Once a fourth line option for the Blackhawks, he’s now centering the team’s hottest line (the third line) and not only led the Blackhawks at the dot (won 9 of 17) on Monday night but also put three shots on goal.

Takeaways

  • Mike Hardman had a tough night. On one shift in the first period he appeared to block a shot with his face and then chest (two different shots). Later, he got a opponents’ stick caught in his helmet. And he did all of that while only skating about seven minutes in the first two periods. He blocked a shot with about eight minutes left in the third period and could barely get off the ice (looked like maybe a foot?) so we’ll see how he’s feeling when the Hawks have their next game in Washington in a couple days.
  • I am totally cool with the Blackhawks buying out Nikita Zaitsev this summer. With the group of guys in Rockford who should get a chance at the NHL next year and a few intriguing internal RFAs who might be invited back, let him go find a job somewhere else. It’s not like the Hawks are going to be up against the cap ceiling next year.
  • Troy Murray picked up on Avs players squirting MacKenzie Entwistle with their water bottles in the closing seconds of the game after a few guys exchanged words in the corner. That should be a fine if they can find which players were doing it. Odds of that happening? Slim to none.


Author: Tab Bamford

Tab is the Lead Blackhawks voice for BN. He is the author of two books about the Blackhawks, most recently "Chicago Blackhawks: An Illustrated Timeline" (Reedy Press, 2021). Find him on Twitter at @The1Tab