March 19, 2017
Greg Boysen

For much of the night the Chicago Blackhawks did not look like they did not care much for the first 40 plus minutes of the night.  Then they exploded for five goals in the third period, including three in 34 seconds and four in just over three minutes.

Patrick Kane got the Blackhawks on the board just 4:33 into the first period with his team-high 32nd goal of the year.  Nick Schmaltz started the scoring play by winning a board battle just inside his own blue line and then finding Artemi Panarin jumping on the ice to start a 2-on-1 rush.  Once in the zone, Panarin passed across the slot to Kane who beat goaltender Jeremy Smith to the stick side. 

Mikhail Grigorenko, who was a healthy scratch versus the Detroit Red Wings Saturday night, tied the game at 8:14.  The ugly play began with Brent Seabrook falling down in the left corner leading to a shot on goal from Anton Lindholm.  Scott Darling made the save, but paddled the rebound right back to the middle of the ice and on the stick of Grigorenko who quickly put it into the Hawks net.

Grigorenko struck again for his ninth goal of the year just over seven minutes later to give Colorado a 2-1 lead.  Seabrook was victimized again as he could not pull off a poke check or tie up Gregorenko’s stick while he was directly in front of him before he beat Darling to the glove side with a wrist shot. 

Sven Andrighetto’s fourth goal of the season extended the Avalanche’s lead to 3-1 at the 16:24 mark of the second period.  Andrighetto got the front of the net where he was able to redirect a Mark Barberio shot up and over Darling.

Jonathan Toews scored his 19th goal of the season at 10:17 of the third period as both he and John Hayden got to the front of the net and got their sticks on Duncan Keith’s shot from the point.  The Avalanche challenged the play for being onside and even though the replay showed Toews still in the zone when the puck crossed the blue line, the goal remained on the board.

17 seconds later Richard Panik tied the game as he found a loose puck in the slot and hammered it over Smith.  Hayden and Seabrook picked up the assists on Panik’s 19th goal on the year.

Just because Blackhawks fans love it so much, Artemi Panarin scored again… guessed it…..17 seconds later.  Panarin skated across the zone and used a toe drag before beating Smith with a wrist shot for his 24th goal of the year.  Nick Schmaltz and Kane had the assists on the eventual game winning goal.

Toews scored again at the 13:19 mark to give the Blackhawks a 5-3 lead.  Niklas Hjalmarsson fed the puck to Toews who raced into the zone and beat Smith the blocker side.  Trevor van Riemsdyk was credited with the secondary assist. 

The Blackhawks have won five games in a row at the same time the Minnesota Wild have lost five in a row.  They now have a seven point lead in the Central Division and look to be rolling towards the top seed in the Western Conference.  

Image Credit: Chicago Tribune