Blackhawks 6, Avalanche 2
What seemed to be shaping up as a defensive struggle quickly turned into a blowout as the Blackhawks defeated the Colorado Avalanche 6-2 behind four third-period goals.
The win was especially meaningful to Blackhawks head coach Joel Quenneville, who was the Avalanche’s head coach through the end of last season.
“It was different. I’m glad it’s over,” said Quenneville. “It’s kind of like playing against your old buddies. At the same time, we mean business. It’s a huge game for us and we did what we had to do. We did a lot of good things tonight.”
Colorado began the scoring, netting the only goal of the first period on a shot from Ben Guite that just got by goaltender Nikolai Khabibulin. The Hawks rallied in the second on goals by Andrew Ladd and Troy Brouwer
, the first of his NHL career.
“It’s one of those things you can’t wait to do as you enter the league,” said Brouwer of the goal. “It took a while, but I’m glad it helped. Hopefully I can get many more.”
Cam Barker and Ladd scored for the Hawks in the third period, and Patrick Sharp
added two goals to seal the win.
Ladd set a career high with three points in the game (2 G, A), and his linemates Dave Bolland and Dustin Byfuglien added two assist each.
“It’s nice to see them get some production,” said Quenneville. “They were effective in a lot of ways. They’re not an easy line to play against; they’ve got some size and there’s some skill. When they get the responsibility against the top line like they did tonight and they win the competition, I like our chances.”
“It’s nice when the pucks are going in,” said Ladd. “It creates more energy when the crowd’s into it. It makes it much easier to play.”
The Hawks remain undefeated in regulation at home (5-0-2), and play four more games at the United Center before they begin a two-week, six-game road trip.
“We had a favorable home schedule to start the season and we’re taking advantage of it,” said Quenneville. “You get on a little bit of a roll and you get the crowd behind you. It’s a fun place to be.”
The Hawks' next game is Sunday night against Calgary, and Quenneville says his goal is to make sure the team keeps up its intensity through their time off.
“It was a great weekend for us,” said Quenneville. “Let’s make sure to sustain and try to recapture this momentum we’re going into the break with.”
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