You can use many words to describe the Blackhawks’ matchups with the Colorado Avalanche this season, but “short” would not be one of them.
Wednesday’s 3-2 shootout victory marked the third time in three meetings this year that a Hawks-Avs contest has ended in a shootout, and the second time the Blackhawks have prevailed.
“I think we’ve seen their entire team in three games,” said Cristobal Huet. “They’ve got some great shooters. We were lucky to be on the good end of it tonight.”
“When we tied it up in the third period, I think everyone had a hunch that we were going to a shootout,” said Patrick Sharp
, who scored the deciding goal for Chicago.
Chicago and Colorado have certainly given fans their money’s worth in three meetings this season. The two teams went into nine shootout rounds on Oct. 10 and followed it up with an eight-round affair last Friday. Down 2-1 after two periods, head coach Joel Quenneville said that he felt fortunate to take home the victory, or even still be in the running for two points at the end of regulation.
“It’s good entertainment for the fans,” Quenneville said. “They had a couple of good opportunities, as well. But I’m glad it didn’t go any longer than it did.”
“We just put ourselves in a situation where we were in a hole,” explained Jonathan Toews
. “We had to find a way to dig out of it. We had a lot of great chances, but just couldn’t manage to do it. But we prefer it like this: keep it to three shooters and take home the two points.”
Though he’s one of the Blackhawks’ most consistent scorers, selecting Sharp as his third shooter with the game on the line was a bit of a risk for Quenneville. Sharp entered Wednesday’s contest with just four career shootout goals and has had trouble converting breakaway chances this season.
“We practiced the shootout yesterday and Sharpy had a nice move,” Quenneville said. “We knew he was one of the [first three shooters]. We were only really discussing the order when we got to the shootout.”
“I thought I had better puck control for once,” said Sharp. “Sometimes I make it and sometimes I don’t. I was able to control the shot tonight. Something about this one just felt right.”