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Rapid Reaction: Blackhawks 3, Avalanche 2

11/27/2014

DENVER -- Here's a quick look at how the Chicago Blackhawks finally broke through and beat the Colorado Avalanche 3-2 at the Pepsi Center.

How it happened: It looked like the Mile High City would again prove to be the place the Blackhawks offense went to die. The Hawks had more shots and better chances but couldn't get past 22-year-old Avalanche goalie Calvin Pickard for the better part of two periods, much like the way they couldn't figure out Avs starting goalie Semyon Varlamov in three losses last season at the Pepsi Center. But two power-play goals and a game winner from Bryan Bickell breathed new life in the thin Denver air. Patrick Kane juked around an Avs defender and fed it to Bickell, who scored his second goal of the season with 5:17 remaining.

Earlier in the second period, Jonathan Toews slipped behind Pickard on the crease and scored on Chicago's 25th shot of the game. His ninth goal of the season came after Brent Seabrook rifled a shot that popped out of the back of Pickard's leg pads and trickled slowly toward the left post. Less than three minutes later, Kane pushed a pass to Andrew Shaw, who beat Pickard with 5:39 remaining. Colorado's Ryan O'Reilly finished off a scrum in front of the net early in the third period to tie the game 2-2. The Hawks then killed a 6-on-5 in the final two minutes of the game.

What it means: The Blackhawks are 3-1-0 on their six-game road trip and 13-8-1 on the season. Chicago coach Joel Quenneville said his team is starting to play better despite the 4-1 loss to the Vancouver Canucks on Sunday, and his players backed it up with 45 shots in the win.

Player of the game: Corey Crawford made his 12th consecutive start in net and didn’t look affected by it whatsoever. He made stop after stop to keep an energetic Colorado team from blowing things open early on and then kept them from tying it late. He totaled 27 saves on the night. Kane was the star on the other end, as he totaled three assists.

Stat of the game: Already leading the NHL in killing power plays, the Blackhawks and Crawford -- a lot of Crawford -- shut down the Avs on both their tries on Wednesday. Meanwhile, they scored on two power plays of their own. Crawford and the Avs' Pickard were both special on this night.

What's next: On the last stint of this lengthy road trip, the Blackhawks face the Pacific-leading Anaheim Ducks on Friday before facing the defending champion Los Angeles Kings on Saturday.