Blackhawks can’t solve the Avalanche for a third time this season


CHICAGO, IL – DECEMBER 18: Valeri Nichushkin #13 of the Colorado Avalanche grabs the puck ahead of Dylan Strome #17 of the Chicago Blackhawks in the first period at the United Center on December 18, 2019 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Chase Agnello-Dean/NHLI via Getty Images)

CHICAGO – In every season, there is one team that gives a team fits over the course of 82 games.

They could be ahead of them in the standings or behind them, but for whatever reason, there is nothing that can be done for that one group against another. Right now in the 2019-2020 campaign, it looks like that might be the Colorado Avalanche for the Chicago Blackhawks.

For a third-straight time on Wednesday night, the hosts had no answer for their Central Division rivals.

Unable to break through on offense and a step behind on defense, the Blackhawks fell for a third time this season to the Avalanche, dropping a 4-1 decision at the United Center. All of these results have come in the last 20 days for Jeremy Colliton’s team, who have now lost eight of their last 11 games in regulation or overtime.

Colorado used goals from Andre Burakovsky and Nathan MacKinnon in the second period to break a 1-1 deadlock after the first 20 minutes, then added a late empty-net goal from Mikko Rantanen to finish off the Blackhawks. Ryan Carpenter’s first period goal was the only score for the home team, who had 32 shots on goal for the evening.

This kind of result against Colorado was typical of the one from a month ago, which started this recent stretch of struggles for the Blackhawks. On November 29th, the Avalanche came into the United Center and scored five goals in the first 32 minutes on Corey Crawford en route to a 5-2 victory, then got it going again the next night.

After the Blackhawks grabbed an early 1-0 lead at the Pepsi Center on November 30th, the Avalanche scored seven unanswered goals in the first two periods. They chased Robin Lehner out of the net after the fifth goal and got two quick scores off Crawford once he entered the game. It tied the most goals allowed by the Blackhawks this season as they also gave up seven in a loss to Nashville on November 16th.

This trend is a departure from last season when three of the five games were decided by a goal and the others by a pair of scores, with the Blackhawks holding a 3-2 record against Colorado. Perhaps the results this year are indicative of their records, with the Avalanche sitting 15 points ahead of their division rivals from Chicago.

At least Colliton only has to face them one more time this year, and it comes this week. The teams will meet in Denver for the last time this Saturday, and that’s a relief for the Blackhawks in a rough year against the Avalanche.


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