(Chicago, Illinois) – Before Colorado hockey fans get excited about the headline – remember it’s only December and no team in the league has played half of its schedule games.
Tonight the Avs stirred vision of a playoff berth with a gritty 4-3 victory against the defending Stanley Cup Champions in Chicago. Tomas Fleischmann scored a third period hat trick and Craig Anderson played superlatively in goal to lead the Avalanche to their fourth straight victory.
Unlike the wide open game played on Monday at the Pepsi Center, this game was aligned with a playoff-type contest. There was some tight checking and strong defensive plays.
The Avs got the jump on the Blackhawks more than 13 minutes into the first period on Greg Mauldin score, taking a 1-0 lead into the second period during which Bryan Bickell evened the score 1-1. The period ended this way before Fleischmann’s heroics in the third period.
Two power play goals by the winger in less than two minutes put the Avs up 3-1, before Jonathan Toews cut the lead in half. With solid puck movement, Colorado deflated Chicago with an in close wrist shot by Fleischmann for some much needed insurance. A last second goal by Troy Brouwer spelled too little too late for the slumping host.
If tonight’s game is a harbinger of things to come for the young Avalanche team – then the optimism that surrounds them is not premature. Colorado does not seem like a team that’s on the verge of bowing out of the playoff race. In fact, with their roster still riddled with injuries, this team is shaping up like one that can actually win the division –outright.
At this point in the season the Avs and the Blackhawks seem to be trending in opposite directions. Without a doubt, both teams are missing some key players due to injuries; but the Avs have continued to step up their game to overcome their adversity, while the Blackhawks have not.
Another difference in tonight’s game was Craig Anderson, who stood tall in net – making 35 saves and giving his team a chance to pull this one off. The Avs return home to entertain Canada this weekend with the Ottawa Senators coming to town on Friday and the Montreal Canadiens, Saturday.
Game Notes: Missing tonight’s game due to injuries were Milan Hejduk; Peter Mueller; T.J. Galardi; Kyle Cuminsky; Kyle Quincey; and Chris Stewart for Colorado; and for Chicago… Patrick Kane; Marian Hossa; and Fernando Pisani.
About the Author
Written by Donovan Wilson
Donovan is a professional writer with more than 10 years of corporate communications and public relations experience. He currently resides in the Phoenix, Arizona area where he currently does freelance work for the Arizona Repubilc. With a degree in English from Brandeis University in Waltham, Mass., and a Master's degree in journalism from the University of Missouri - Columbia, Donovan has written for a variety of newspapers across the country. The single parent of an 13-year old boy, Donovan is a physical fitness enthusiast whom you can find on a soccer field or in the gym enduring an intense cardio workout. A sports enthusiast, Donovan has played competitive college hockey, soccer, and track and field. During his spare time, it’s not uncommon to see Donovan volunteering his services to a homeless shelter in Phoenix where he helps to feed the homeless. Currently, Donovan sits on the board of two nonprofit organizations – Green Nonprofits, Inc. and Queens Sickle Cell Advocacy Network, Inc. in New York City.