Posted March 19, 2013 on
AP on Fox
Ray Emery stopped 17 shots to remain unbeaten this season, Patrick Kane had a goal and two assists, and Chicago held off Colorado 5-2 on Monday night in the first meeting since the Avalanche halted the Blackhawks' record points streak.
Jimmy Hayes and Andrew Shaw scored 57 seconds apart in the first period, Brent Seabrook contributed another and Jonathan Toews added a late insurance goal for the surging Blackhawks, who have won three straight to move to 3-2-0 after their NHL-record 21-0-3 start to the season was ended in the Mile High City on March 8.
Emery, the backup to Corey Crawford, extended his league record with his 11th consecutive victory to start the season.
Gabriel Landeskog and Milan Hejduk scored for slumping Colorado, which has lost a season-high four in a row.
The Blackhawks had another big offensive night highlighted by Kane, the team's leading scorer. He nearly had another goal on a breakaway early in the third period, only to be turned away by the left pad of Semyon Varlamov.
With a game-sealing goal late, Toews finished with a score and two assists.
This offensive output comes two days after Chicago scored a season-best eight goals in a win at Dallas. The victory may have been costly, though, as Marian Hossa left the game after the first period with what the team called an upper-body injury.
Kane and Seabrook scored goals in the second period to stake the Blackhawks to a 4-1 lead.
Just before the period ended, Hejduk found the back of the net on a play that was started by a pass from Varlamov, who picked up his first assist of the season.
Chicago began with a flurry of goals, starting with Hayes backhanding a shot past Varlamov for his first of the season. Hayes was just recently called up from Rockford of the AHL.
Moments later, Shaw beat Varlamov with a wrist shot.
Emery came up big in the opening period, with a little help from Niklas Hjalmarsson. On a play where Emery was sprawled out on the ice, the defenseman slid over and prevented a potential goal by blocking a wrist shot with his left leg.
The Avalanche got on the board with 33.4 seconds remaining in the first period when Landeskog scored a short-handed goal. The young captain took a pass from Matt Duchene and simply flew by Seabrook on his way to the goal.
Seabrook took a seat on the bench for a good portion of the second period, only to return and score his fifth goal of the season on a slap shot.
At the morning practice, the Blackhawks insisted they weren't motivated by avenging the streak-snapping loss to the Avalanche. Plus, with the steak over, they can focus on what they do best - play up-tempo hockey.
As to why the Avalanche have given Chicago so much trouble of late, Kane had a simple explanation: Colorado is one of the few teams that can actually match the Blackhawks' swift speed.
Said Kane: ''It's like when we came into the league - we were young and youthful and trying to prove something. I'm sure that's the same way with the Avalanche.''
Notes: Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville said after the morning skate there was still no timetable for the return of Patrick Sharp, who appeared to hurt his shoulder after being checked along the boards by Colorado's Ryan O'Byrne on March 6. ... Kane has a healthy respect for the Avs since he was a kid. ''The Avalanche were probably a lot of our favorite team growing up, with guys like Joe Sakic and Peter Forsberg on their team,'' Kane said. ''It's always cool to play a team like that.'' ... Colorado D Ryan Wilson sat out with an ankle injury. ... Duchene has 11 points in his last six games. ... Avs F Cody McLeod took a puck to the face in the third period and was helped off the ice.
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Hockey is known by the fair weather fan for being a sport that is tough as nails and doesn't really care if the game stops so a pair of guys can fight while balancing on sharp blades. Maybe if those fans saw more of the grace and beauty of the game they would tune in for more than the fights (which they can just catch on Sportscenter or YouTube).
Like this play by Chicago...
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The Blackhawks followed the script last night in Denver.
Franchise figureheads Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews notched three-point nights. All four lines and the defense contributed in different ways and to varying degrees. Goalie Ray Emery was good enough to win.
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Chicago Blackhawks @ Colorado Avalanche
8:00PM Central/7 Mountain
CSN Chicago, Altitude Sports2/WGN Radio
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Andrew Shaw celebrates like he is in Chicago. (AP Photo/Jack Dempsey)
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When the Blackhawks lost two games in a row recently, the question naturally arose: is this a temporary blip or are they going to be merely mortal from here on out?
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