Jan 062012

By Brad Vandenberk

The Chicago Blackhawks returned home Friday night to play the Colorado Avalanche.  Chicago played the night before in Philadelphia where they erased a two goal lead only to loose with 30 seconds left in the third period.  This game was one the Hawks needed to win in order to maintain the 1st place status in the Western Conference and Central Division.

Andrew Shaw and Dylan Olsen remained with the big club as their games spoke volume against the Flyers less than 24 hours earlier.  Dan Carcillo served his 2nd game of his seven game suspension.   Marcus Kruger and Steve Montador also remained out of the Hawks’ lineup with injuries.

With new faces in the lineup, Coach Q, again, made some adjustments to his four lines.  Shaw saw time at center between Patrick Kane and Patrick Sharp.  Michael Frolik had a chance to show what he could do as he was put up with Jonathan Toews and Marian Hossa.  The line of Dave Bolland, Bryan Bickell and Viktor Stalberg were reunited after showing some good chemistry just a few games ago.  Finally Jamal Mayers, Andrew Brunette and Jimmy Hates rounded out the Hawks top 4 lines.

Corey Crawford got the nod for the Hawks and was busy early.  The pace to the game had a great start as both teams had some chances to score.   Half way through the first period the Hawks started to show their tired legs from playing the night before.

At the 7:03 mark, TJ Galiardi kept the puck for a sold 30 seconds in the Hawks zone.  He then got the puck over to the defensemen Erik Johnson who let a shot go on net.  A screened Crawford couldn’t see the shot and David Jones tipped the puck over him opening the scoring.  Colorado finishes the period out shooting the Hawks 8-5.

The second period begins with the Av’s playing where they left off.  In just 1:47 on the fresh ice, Paul Stastny and TJ Galiardi broke in on a 2 on 1 with Galiardi finishing the play giving the Av’s a 2-0.  This began the rain of boos from a restless United Center crowd.

Five minutes later, Jonathan Toews drew a penalty driving to the Avs net with Shane O’Brien draped all over his back.  This would give the Hawks a great opportunity to get back to within one.  But just as that power play expired, Gabriel Landeskog got possession and took the puck behind the Hawks net.  There, he hit a wide open David Van Der Gulik, who put it high over Crawford.  3-0 with 11:20 left in the second period.

At this stage, Coach Q started to adjust his lines to hopefully get some spark from his team.  He moved Jimmy Hayes up with Toews and Kane and also had Hossa playing with Sharp and Bolland.

The third period still had the Hawks trying to solve Av’s goaltender Semyon Varlamov .  Toews was up to his old tricks trying to walk through the entire team but came up short.  Viktor Stalberg was sent in on a breakaway and beats Varlamov , but not the post.

Dave Bolland got into a fight eight minutes into the third after he tried to take a run at Paul Stastny just inside the Hawks zone, missed but got his stick up high on Stastny.  TJ Galiardi skated over to challenge Bolland immediately in front of the Hawks bench.  It was a short-lived scrap.  This was Bolland’s first NHL fight and in the process Galiardi picked up the Gordie Howe hat trick.

As the curtain began to fall on this dismal Hawks effort the Av’s added one more to the score sheet as Chuck Kobasew tipped in another shot past Crawford making the score 4-0 and the Hawks leaving the ice to 21,000 boos.

Quick Hits:

-Hawks outshot the Av’s 27-22.

-Hawks go 0/1 on the power play.

Duncan Keith again led all Hawks in TOI with 28:15.

-In the second of a back-to-back, Quenneville shortened his bench in the second period and played the remaining 35 minutes of Friday’s game with just 5 defensemen.  John Scott had 4 shifts in all Friday; 3 in the first period and his last coming four minutes into the second period.  This left Dylan Olsen (15:02 – in his second NHL game), Nick Leddy (25:36), Niklas Hjalmarsson (19:57), Brent Seabrook (27:18) and Duncan Keith to handle the workload.

Nick Leddy was a minus-4 in the game. This was an occasion when the plus/minus number was an accurate depiction of the player’s night.

-After the game Joel Quenneville indicated defenseman Steve Montador (unknown injury) is expected back soon.  It sounded like that will be Sunday.

-Jonathan Toews was a monster again on faceoffs, winning 18 of 24 (75%).

-The fight with TJ Galiardi was Dave Bolland’s first NHL “fight”.  According to his HockeyFights.com page, Bolland fought just once in his junior career and as an 18-year old.

-The Hawks welcome the Detroit Red Wings to the United Center on Sunday night at 6:30pm local time.  The game will be carried nationally in the States by the NBC Sports Network, formally VERSUS.

Brad Vandenberk

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