Crawford gets shutout as Blackhawks beat Avs
CHICAGO — Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville is looking for a more complete effort from his team. Pretty much everyone except Corey Crawford.
Hard to argue with the way Crawford is playing right now.
The veteran goaltender made 38 saves in his second shutout in three games, helping the Blackhawks beat the Colorado Avalanche 4-0 on Thursday night for their fourth straight victory.
“Just trying to get better every game,” Crawford said. “Feeling good with reading the play. The conditioning’s there, too. Feeling sharp every game. I just go out there and battle.”
Marian Hossa had two goals, Jonathan Toews also scored and the Blackhawks killed off three more penalties to run their streak to 12 after an awful start to the season. Artemi Panarin added his fifth of the season off a slick pass from Patrick Kane in the third.
Chicago won for the seventh time in nine games, but Quenneville pointed out a couple areas of concern, mostly having to do with puck possession and movement. Of course, he sounded pretty satisfied with the situation in goal.
Colorado dominated parts of the first and second periods, but Crawford was on top of his game again. He stopped Tyson Barrie about 5 minutes into the first, and denied Matt Duchene on a breakaway in the second. He also had a sharp glove save on Barrie at 9:34 of the third.
“He’s been outstanding,” Quenneville said.
Crawford caught a break when Nathan MacKinnon banged a shot off the left post about 4 minutes into the first, and Chicago defenseman Brent Seabrook helped out by breaking up a 2-on-1 in the second.
“The guys played well,” Crawford said. “PK (Kane) was solid again, moving pucks down. It makes it harder on the power play when you’ve got to skate back all the time. It’s just a big game for us.”?
Semyon Varlamov made 17 saves for Colorado, which has dropped four of five.
“I liked a lot of that game,” coach Jared Bednar said. “We made some mistakes, they capitalized on their chances.”
The Avalanche had a prime chance to jump in front with two power plays in the first, but the Blackhawks turned away each opportunity. Then Toews and Hossa scored in a 38-second span.
First, Toews poked in a loose puck at 14:25. Then Hossa got free for a breakaway and managed to flick a wrist shot over Varlamov’s glove before sliding into the corner. Hossa celebrated by getting up on his knees and flexing for the cheering crowd.
Hossa beat Varlamov on the glove side again early in the third, making the most of a great stretch pass by defenseman Duncan Keith, and Kane found a streaking Panarin in front at 12:40. It was Kane’s team-high 10th assist.
“Tough, obviously 4-0, it looks ugly but it’s not nearly as ugly as it looks on paper,” Duchene said. “Some nights it’s the other way around. You lose by a couple of goals and you’re terrible. There are some good things we want to build on and get ready to the next one.”
NOTES: Hossa has four goals in his last four games. … The Blackhawks showed the last out of the Cubs’ win in Game 7 of the World Series on the videoboard in the first period, drawing a standing ovation from the crowd of 21,580. They also played part of “Go Cubs Go,” and the crowd sang along. … Blackhawks F Ryan Hartman returned to the lineup after he was a healthy scratch for the previous two games. He took the spot of Vinnie Hinostroza, who was a healthy scratch. … D Eric Gelinas and LW Cody McLeod were the scratches for the Avalanche. … Blackhawks C Artem Anisimov extended his point streak to nine in his 500th career game.
Avalanche: Host Minnesota on Saturday afternoon, and then visit St. Louis on Sunday.
Blackhawks: Visit Dallas on Saturday night, and then host the Stars on Sunday.
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