Avalanche Drop a Heartbreaker to the Blackhawks Despite 42 Saves From Pickard


Tonight was one of those games that got the blood boiling. The action was intense. The hockey was beautiful. Everything about that game lived up to the hype that a Chicago Blackhawks versus Colorado Avalanche affair receives.

The Avalanche entered with long odds. They are playing without their staring goaltender, Semyon Varlamov. They are without their MVP and best defenseman by far, Erik Johnson. The absence of Brad Stuart further depletes the defensive depth. Their arsenal of forwards is thin as well, with regulars Jamie McGinn, John Mitchell, and Dennis Everberg out with injuries.

They entered tonight’s contest after playing last night, in an emotional come from behind victory. It is worth noting that the rested team in these situations has posted a 52-15-13 record this season in the NHL. A tall task for the Avs tonight, especially against a talented Blackhawks team, with a style perfect for taking advantage of tired legs.

I thought 5 on 5 we were the better team… I just thought that they got away with things that we could not get away with. Patrick Roy

Despite this, the Avalanche came out and played their hearts out. Calvin Pickard was absolutely out of his mind, with his 42 save effort. He made highlight reel saves all night, and will surely be a dancing nightmare in Marian Hossa‘s dream-world tonight. I feel proud of Calvin Pickard for the way he played tonight, despite not knowing him or having any relation to him. Players who give an effort like that make me proud to be an Avalanche fan.

The Avalanche skaters gave it all they had, and aside from a huge power-play discrepancy, traded scoring chances with the Hawks.

2. 103. 3. 94. Final

Unfortunately, the Avalanche lost the game 3-2. Honestly, Avalanche fans have a right to be ticked off. Even with odds stacked so heavily against them, the Avs were a play away from winning this game. The officiating made sure that didn’t happen. I know, people will say you never blame officials for a loss. The way I see it, having a fairly officiated game is like getting your dog to go to the kennel with a treat. Tonight’s game, the officials took away said treat from the Avs. Could the Avs still have found a way to get the dog into the kennel? Sure. But, it’s a helluva lot easier to get the job done when you have that treat.

Alex Tanguay had harsh words for the officials as well.

The Blackhawks finished the game with 6 power plays to the Avalanche’s 2. Chicago was able to capitalize in the second period with a pair of power play goals. The first from Jonathan Toews and the second from Andrew Shaw. Overall, this seemed like a fairly even game, as Alex Tanguay suggested. A 6-2 power play advantage for Chicago seems a little suspicious.

The go-ahead goal by Shaw was scored on an officiating blunder as well. Counting is hard, when you are wearing stripes.

I thought Matt Duchene drew about a half-dozen penalties tonight, but only one of them was called. Nathan MacKinnon‘s, whatever he got called for, was laughable in the third period. When the Avalanche were rallying for the tie late in the game, new Denver fan-favorite Andrew Shaw, got away with a blatant cross-check on Jarome Iginla. It’s unbelievable really, and unacceptable for an NHL crew to have that type of officiating performance. I don’t like to complain about officiating too often, but I’m just overly irked about the job the zebras did (or didn’t do) tonight.

More from Avalanche News

The Avalanche got goals from Cody McLeod, on a nice feed from Marc-Andre Cliche, and Ryan O’Reilly. Feels good to see O’Reilly find twine, considering he has been receiving a lot of criticism of late. The game was tied at two until a few minutes were left, and Patrick Kane decided to be Patrick Kane. He somehow took on three Avalanche defenders and won to get a shot away, which was deflected home by Bryan Bickell.

A tough one to lose for the Avalanche. They played their hearts out, and had so many things going against them, yet still almost pulled it out.