Mar 16, 2013; Denver, CO, USA; Colorado Avalanche center John Mitchell (7) and left wing Cody McLeod (55) battle Minnesota Wild defenseman Jonas Brodin (25) and defenseman Tom Gilbert (77) for the puck in the second period at the Pepsi Center. Mandatory Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports
DENVER- Remember when the Avalanche spoiled Chicago's historic points streak just ten days prior? Yeah, the Blackhawks do too.
"We wanted to get a little bit of redemption and know that we can beat a team like this," said Chicago forward Patrick Kane. "It's kind of nice to beat them like that."
The formidable Blackhawks came out with a vengeance, and an obvious edge, quickly taking the lead on a pair of goals in the first five minutes of action. Chicago's Jimmy Hayes scored off a turnover inside the Avalanche's zone and then some 57 second later later Andrew Shaw, off a nice pass from Patrick Kane, also found the back of the net. The Blackhawks earned payback as they went on to win 5-2.
Head coach Joe Sacco said that the last matchup wasn't a factor, at least "not from the standpoint" of the Avalanche. It was evident though in play and aggressiveness the monumental difference in mentality of the two teams on the ice.
"Tonight was a good display. One team was playing with lots confidence, and another team that didn't," said Milan Hejduk. "It definitely showed on the ice."
Despite losing to Colorado, and then Edmonton in their next game, Chicago is still the best team in the league. The Avalanche, their near identical counterpoint haven't won in more than a week including three consecutive defeats. The outcome Monday night was the predisposed norm, not an anomaly of sorts that was the previous match-up.
"We knew it was going to be a tougher game. This was a different team than we played before when we ended the streak," continued Hejduk about snapping the Blackhawks 24 game point streak to begin the season. "We got outplayed [tonight], pretty simple."
Colorado, who usually plays to their competition level, mustered enought energy to put up a fight but they just weren't as crisp as the NHL's best team. The Blackhawks peppered the net and Semyon Varlamov, accounting for 27 saves, a few of which coming in spectacular fashion.
Captain Gabriel Landeskog scored on the first short-handed goal of his career late in the first period to keep Colorado very much in contention. But the Blackhawks controlled the remainder of the game. They tacked on another two goals in the second period, including one from Kane, to put the game out of reach.
The Avalanche couldn't get anything going offensively to put the pressure on, much credit is due to the Chicago defense. Their stagnant finishing period, where Colorado only generated four shots, finalized the ultimate retribution.
"We didn't have much but we didn't generate much either," said PA Parenteau. "You're not going to beat the Blackhawks when you play like that."
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