Hawks Insider

10 observations: Hawks offense struggles in loss to Avs


The Blackhawks were shut out by the Colorado Avalanche 2-0 at Ball Arena on Monday.

Here are 10 observations from the loss:

1. The Avalanche have won 16 consecutive games at home, which is tied for the fifth-longest home winning streak in NHL history. The record is 23, set by Detroit in 2011-12. Colorado has a +39 goal differential in those 16 games. Absurd.

2. The Blackhawks were the better team in the first period. At best, it was an even match. It was the start they needed against the league's hottest team, but they went into the intermission with a 0-0 tie. Probably was viewed as a win at the time but, in hindsight, capitalizing by scoring that first goal — any goal — would've changed the complexion of this game.

3. Somebody get Marc-Andre Fleury some offense. Over his last five starts, the Blackhawks have scored only four goals during 5-on-5 action. Two goals against should've been enough to beat Colorado. Fleury did his part, stopping 27 of 29 shots for a save percentage of .932.

4. Something about lefty goaltenders has given Chicago challenges over the years. I looked this up to make sure I wasn't going crazy and it checked out. Here are the ones I remember off the top of my head — I could be missing more — but all four of the games below resulted in losses for the Blackhawks.

  • Nov. 16, 2018: Los Angeles' Cal Petersen stopped 34 of 35 shots — and both shootout attempts — for a save percentage of .971 in a 2-1 win.
  • Nov. 23, 2018: Tampa Bay's Louis Domingue turned aside 30 of 32 shots for a save percentage of .938 in a 4-2 win.
  • Jan. 6, 2022: Arizona's Karel Vejmelka made 32 saves on 36 shots for a save percentage of .889 in a 6-4 win. Two of those goals came in the third period, but he was otherwise sensational.
  • Jan. 24, 2022: Colorado's Pavel Francouz stopped all 23 shots in a 2-0 win.

5. The Blackhawks' third line of Kirby Dach, Dominik Kubalik and Philipp Kurashev had a rough night. When the three of them were on the ice together at even strength in the first two periods, the Avalanche led in shot attempts (9-1), shots on goal (4-0) and scoring chances (4-0), according to Natural Stat Trick. They had a better third, but it was too little, too late.

6. I don't see a team in the Western Conference getting in the way of Colorado. Maybe Vegas with a healthy Jack Eichel? Goaltending is the key for both of those teams.

7. The Blackhawks generated 11 high-danger chances during 5-on-5 play. They had only 12 high-danger chances at 5-on-5 in their previous three games combined. A positive development, but at some point you have to bury those chances.

8. Connor Murphy was really good. When he was on the ice at even strength (19:15 of ice time), the Blackhawks led in shot attempts (25-9), shots on goal (12-4), scoring chances (11-4) and high-danger chances (5-1). He also had seven shot attempts (three on goal), two hits, one takeaway and two blocked shots, giving him 102 on the season. Only two players have blocked more shots: Mario Ferraro (107 and Brayden McNabb (107).

9. Interim head coach Derek King had some confidence in his fourth line of Henrik Borgstrom, Ryan Carpenter and MacKenzie Entwistle, and rightfully so. They didn't allow a single shot on goal when the three of them were on the ice together.

10. Eddie Olczyk wasn't feeling well on Saturday and did not call the third period of the 4-3 overtime loss to Minnesota. His son Nick moved over from the WGN radio booth to the television booth and finished the game. Nick was the color analyst from start to finish on Monday and was terrific. You can definitely see and hear a lot of his dad in him. Get well soon, Edzo.

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