How it happened: It happened quickly. Goaltender Corey Crawford was pulled with 6:37 left in the first period after the Avalanche raced to 3-0 lead. This was Crawford’s first start in Mile High City since his shaky performance last season helped the Avalanche end the Blackhawks’ consecutive point streak at 30 games. It started to go badly again Tuesday after a funny bounce off the backboards, when Avs forward Paul Stastny corralled the puck and ripped a goal past Crawford six minutes in. Later in the period, Avs captain Gabriel Landeskog and forward John Mitchell scored back-to-back goals in 56 seconds on the shaken Crawford to make way for the Hawks’ first glimpse of rookie netminder Antti Raanta, who made 13 saves on 15 shots in relief. The Blackhawks, meanwhile, flipped in their only goal when Brandon Saad scored on a backhanded attempt late in the third period off of Avs goalie Semyon Varlamov, who was marvelous in a 36-save performance.
What it means: The Blackhawks began their seven-game road trip on the wrong foot and lost big despite outshooting the Avalanche nearly 2-to-1 for most of the game. Crawford, meanwhile, couldn’t build off his masterful 23-save performance in a 5-1 win over the San Jose Sharks on Sunday, and 24-year-old Raanta got his first NHL experience after he was called up from the Rockford IceHogs on Sunday.
Player of the game: Varlamov was in top form. The Avs netminder made one acrobatic stop after another on his way to 36 saves. Saad ended the potential shutout on the Hawks’ 35th shot of the game.
Stat of the game: The Hawks outshot the Avs 37-23 in the loss.
What’s next: After two lopsided losses in three games, the Hawks continue their road trip and travel to Winnipeg to face the Jets on Thursday. The Hawks beat Winnipeg 5-1 at the United Center earlier this month.