Hawks Fall in Return to United Center

Rich Campbell, Tribune reporter9:40 p.m. CST, March 4, 2014

Tyson Barrie, Ryan O’Reilly and Paul Stastny scored third-period goals to support a 36-save effort from Semyon Varlamov that carried the Avalanche to a 4-2 victory over the Blackhawks at United Center.

Maxime Talbot also tallied and Erik Johnson notched three assists in Colorado’s third straight win. Barrie and O’Reilly also recorded assists during the Avalanche’s final-period outburst.Ben Smith’s wrist shot from between the circles lifted the Blackhawks into a 1-1 tie before the second intermission.

He scored his eighth goal of the season after winning the puck in the left corner with an aggressive forecheck. Brandon Bollig corralled it along the boards and dropped it back to Smith, who darted to the middle. After a quick deke, Smith lifted a shot high past goalie Semyon Varlamov.

That answered the Avalanche center Maxime Talbot’s goal. He opened the scoring less than three minutes into the second period by deflecting a shot by defenseman Erik Johnson. Johnson’s attempt from the right point was headed wide right, but Talbot, with his back to goal, re-directed it past Corey Crawford.

The Blackhawks controlled the first period but went to intermission scoreless. Their consistent pressure in the offensive zone produced an 11-3 shots advantage but no high-quality scoring chances.

The Hawks managed no shots during 3 minutes, 20 seconds on the power play. They’ll begin the second period with a man advantage, as Avalanche defender Erik Johnson serves the final 40 seconds of his holding penalty.

The teams played more than five minutes without a whistle early in the period.

“You’ve got to like their team,” Hawks coach Joel Quenneville said of the Avalanche. “They have guys that can make plays, and they’re a threat to score off the rush and in the zone. Their playmaking and patience with the puck is as good as any team in the league. They’ve got some real good options to put people on the ice that are dangerous. I think we’ve got to be respectful for what they’re capable of.”

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