The Colorado Avalanche face the Chicago Blackhawks on the third game of their road trip. Can the Avalanche go 3-0 on the roadice — and can they halt Chicago forward Patrick Kane‘s point streak?
The Colorado Avalanche need a nice winning streak. They’ve only won three games in a row once this season, and don’t have any win streaks longer than that. A win tonight would match their previous win streak.
To do that, though, they need to get past the reigning Stanley Cup champions, the Chicago Blackhawks. They also need to halt Patrick Kane’s 26-game point streak.
Ok, technically they don’t need to shut down Kane to win the game, but it sure would be satisfying if they did so.
Semyon Varlamov‘s Goal Tending
Avalanche goalie Semyon Varlamov stole the game from the St. Louis Blues. They threw everything at him, and he turned away all but one. He made 42 saves to get the Colorado Avalanche a 3-2 victory.
However, early on in the season, Varlamov laid some eggs. He definitely cost the team a couple games by letting in soft goals. So much so that his greatest champion, head coach Patrick Roy, criticized Varlamov.
Varlamov has to be strong tonight if the Avalanche want to shut down Kane. Oh, and win the game. Even besides Kane the Blackhawks have some impressive firepower.
No team in the Central Division is going to shy away from some gritty hockey. However, the Colorado Avalanche need to bring their A-game in physicality against Chicago.
And they need to manhandle Kane. He’s not at all a physical player, so getting rough with him will definitely take him off his game. This is a natural job for the likes of Cody McLeod, except you’ve got to worry he won’t keep up with the slippery Patrick Kane.
Defenseman Erik Johnson is another likely candidate. He’s certainly fast enough to keep up with Kane, and he has a definite mean streak on the ice.
Colorado Avalanche Firepower
The Chicago Blackhawks certainly have offensive talent, but it’s not like the Avalanche are lacking in that department either. Granted the top-end talent didn’t represent against the St. Louis Blues, but it’s there.
Chicago goalie Corey Crawford can be tough to beat — he does have a clutch of Stanley Cup rings, after all. The Avalanche have had pretty decent success against him. In fact, remember that time defenseman Brad Stuart accidentally scored on Crawford?
Well, Stuart is still in injured reserve. However, the Colorado Avalanche still have plenty of firepower. They simply have to use it. They achieved just 18 shots on goal against the St. Louis Blues — that’s not going to cut it against the Chicago Blackhawks.
What’s more, they’ve failed on all their 5-on-3 attempts this season. They may not get such an opportunity against the Blackhawks, but they definitely need to capitalize on any power play opportunities that come their way.
I’d like to see center Nathan MacKinnon get back to his scoring ways and for Matt Duchene to keep back at it. Maybe that one-two punch doesn’t quite rival Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews, but it’s also backed up by Gabriel Landeskog.
At the end of the day, I want both things to happen — for the Colorado Avalanche to both beat the Chicago Blackhawks and stop Patrick Kane. I hate Patrick Kane. I could say it’s because he’s a really good division rival, but we all know there’s a lot more to hate about that man’s character than his playing.
I want to see the Colorado Avalanche stop his scoring streak. A part of me really wants to see Cody McLeod do it in a nasty way. However, in the name of good karma, let’s just remember that the Colorado Avalanche have long had a way of ending Blackhawks streaks — and Chicago hasn’t beaten them once in 2015.