Avs hand Blackhawks sixth straight loss, 5-2
Tuesday, 02.07.2012 / 11:52 PMDENVER --
A Colorado Avalanche
offense that had been in hibernation for over a month emerged in a big way Tuesday night, as did a frustrated David Jones
The 27-year-old left wing matched his career high for points in a game with two goals and an assist to spearhead the Avalanche's 5-2 win over the Chicago Blackhawks
at the Pepsi Center.
The Avs, who snapped a winless streak that had reached five games (0-4-1), collected one more goal than it had totaled in the previous three games combined. The five goals were the most scored by Colorado since a 6-1 rout of New Jersey on Nov. 30.
"We generated a lot of scoring opportunities tonight, especially off the rush," said Avalanche coach Joe Sacco, who earned his 100th NHL win. "It's a big win. We've played well lately, but obviously haven't had the results. But we continued to believe that if we did good things during the game that we would get good results."
The Avalanche snapped a 2-2 tie and broke open a fast-paced contest with three goals in the third period, capped by Kyle Quincey
's empty-net goal with 2:08 remaining. It was the first goal by a Colorado defenseman in 15 games, since Quincey scored in Anaheim on New Year's Eve.
The loss extended the Blackhawks' winless streak to six games (0-5-1) and their road winless streak to eight (0-6-2). Chicago has dropped the first four games of a marathon nine-game excursion that doesn't end until Feb. 18.
When rookie Gabriel Landeskog
launched a shot from the left circle that beat Blackhawks goalie Ray Emery
high to the glove side 38 seconds into the third period to break a 2-2 tie, it marked just the third time in a 15-game stretch that the Avalanche managed to score more than twice.
Jones, who began the night with 10 goals after scoring a career-high 27 a year ago, increased the lead to 4-2 at 11:42 with his second goal of the game and 12th of the season. Paul Stastny
, who had two assists, fed Jones streaking down right wing for a shot that overpowered Emery, who faced 28 shots.
"They are giving me a chance with some players that I played with last year," said Jones, who skated on a new line with Stastny and right wing Milan Hejduk
. "We had success, and it is nice being back with them. They'll find you anywhere and you just have to be ready. We had some good luck tonight and hopefully we can carry this forward."
The Avalanche needed only five shots to score their three third-period goals against a Blackhawks defense that has been struggling.
"We knew that they were going to press," Jones said. "They came, but we answered back. We got some big goals and I think we are happy how we played. There are still some areas that we need to work on, limit turnovers and be better on the backcheck, but overall it was a real good game."
Jones was a healthy scratch in last Thursday's 1-0 loss to Minnesota after he managed one goal in the previous nine games. He returned to the lineup Saturday and scored a goal in the Avalanche's 3-2 shootout loss to Vancouver.
"He's scored goals in the last couple of games," Sacco said. "It's been a good response from Jonesie. That's what we're looking for from him. We need some guys to help contribute offensively and he has to be one of those guys, so good for him. He gets in there and gets an opportunity to play on a good line with Paul and Milan and he buries a couple tonight, so good for him and good for our team."
The Blackhawks opened the scoring on a goal by defenseman Brent Seabrook
just 31 seconds into the second period, but the Avalanche responded with goals from Peter Mueller
and Jones 35 seconds apart. Mueller skated to the net to redirect Ryan O'Reilly
's pass at 3:24 on a 2-on-1 rush, and Jones scored from the slot at 3:59 off a pass from Hejduk after Blackhawks defenseman Duncan Keith
couldn't control the puck at the Colorado blue line.
Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville used his timeout after Jones' goal to settle the troops and Patrick Kane
tied the game at 6:14 with a nifty backhander that beat goalie Jean-Sebastien Giguere
to the short side after he weaved through the Avalanche defense.
It proved to be Chicago's last hurrah. The Blackhawks took 12 of their 31 shots in the third period, but Giguere turned them all away for his 13th win of the season and the 244th of his NHL career, one behind Avalanche goalie coach Kirk McLean, who sits 46th on the all-time list.
The Hawks are looking for answers to their worst slump of the season.
"We really don't know what to say at this point," captain Jonathan Toews
said. "It (stinks). It is not like we are enjoying this or we like doing this. We are trying to fix the problem. No one is going anywhere. No one is running away from it."
Added Keith: "No one likes being on a losing streak. Everything seems harder and the only way to make yourself better is to work hard and outwork the other team. I think that is the first thing that we have to bring to the game, outwork the other team."