Recap: Crawford Strong in Loss to Avalanche

When the Blackhawks took the ice at United Center to face off against the Colorado Avalanche, expectations were high. The Avalanche had scored just one goal in their previous three games and has been shutout in their last two. The Blackhawks, meanwhile, had won five of their last six games, each without their starting goaltender Corey Crawford. Despite not having two of their top goal-scorers in the lineup due to injuries to Marian Hossa and Artemi Anisimov, Chicago’s effort to start the period was simply one of a team that was tired. As the period, and the game went on, however, the Blackhawks found a way to outshoot the Avalanche.

Both teams fired a flurry of shots on net throughout the game, but despite this, both Crawford and Calvin Pickard stood tall for their respective teams. By the end of the game, Crawford made 32 saves, while Pickard made 38 saves. Crawford showed no signs of rust despite missing so many games due to injury, and the Blackhawks did their part to help him win, though Pickard had plans of his own.

After shutting the door throughout regulation, both goalies earned their teams one point. Just 25 seconds into overtime, however, Nathan MacKinnon sniped a shot past Crawford to give his team the win and secure the second point.

First Period

In his first game back from injury, Corey Crawford was put to work right away. Despite the score remaining tied at 0-0 following, Crawford has his hands full with 12 shots against and 12 saves at the end of the first frame. The Blackhawks were being outshot 9-1 at one point, though they did manage to rectify that as the period went on – finishing down just 13-12 heading into the second period.

Though they started slow, the Blackhawks were able to get some high-pressure scoring chances late in the period courtesy of Duncan Keith and Jonathan Toews. Calvin Pickard was just as sharp as Crawford was in the first period as the two division rivals closed out the period without finding the back of the net.

Second Period

Keith almost scored a goal to end the first period, and almost scored a goal to start the second period. The issue, however, was the goal he almost scored to open up the second was against his own goaltender. No harm was done, but it was still a scary moment for the Blackhawks as they fought hard in the first period to level out the shot differential heading into the second.

Since returning from injury, Toews has done his best to find the back of the net. On Friday, the captain finally managed to do so. Though the power play goal was originally given to Artemi Panarin (which would have been his 16th goal of the season), the official ruling was changed to reflect Toews fifth on the season instead. This goal marked Toews first since Nov. 6 and ended a 13-game goalless drought.

By the end of the second period, the Blackhawks led in shots 27-23 over the Avalanche.

Third Period

With Pickard keeping his team in the game, the Avalanche were eventually able to tie the game up at one goal apiece in the third period. Mikko Rantanen redirected a puck in front of the net past Crawford at the 5:42 mark of the first period for his fifth goal of the season.


Regulation time ultimately didn’t solve anything, so overtime was required. The Avalanche struck quickly in the extra frame when MacKinnon found the back of the net and gave his team the win. Despite a strong goaltending effort, Crawford simply couldn’t win the game by himself with Pickard playing so strong on the other side of the ice.

Scoring Summary


No score


CHI – J. Toews (5) PPG assisted by A. Panarin and D. Keith


COL – M. Rantanen (5) assisted by T. Barrie and N. MacKinnon


COL – N. MacKinnon (9) assisted by T. Barrie

THW Three Stars

First: C. Pickard (38 saves)

Second: N. MacKinnon (Game-Winning Goal, assist)

Third: C. Crawford (32 Saves)

Up Next:

Winnipeg Jets at Chicago Blackhawks

United Center – 7:30 p.m. CT on Tuesday, Dec 27.

Broadcast channels – CSN Chicago, Sportsnet

2016-17 Season Series: 

Nov. 15 – Blackhawks 0 – Jets 4

Dec. 4 Jets 2 – Blackhawks 1