In a season that seems certain to reach at least 50 losses in regulation, Sunday’s in Chicago might have been the most demoralizing for the Colorado Avalanche. Regulation loss No. 48 (they have three in OT) saw the Avs jump out to a 3-1 second-period lead, only to fall 6-3 after giving up five goals in the third.
Mikhail Grigorenko had the Avs feeling optimistic through the first period when his pair of goals gave Colorado a 2-1 lead. Patrick Kane scored his 32nd of the year to open the scoring. Sven Andrighetto would double Colorado’s advantage at 16:24 in the second, the frame’s only goal. Jeremy Smith stopped 19 of 20 shots he faced through two periods.
But Smith and the Avalanche could not contain the relentless Chicago attack. The Blackhawks exploded halfway through the third period with three goals in a span of 34 seconds. Jonathan Toews scored twice in the period and Marcus Kruger scored an empty-netter to double up Colorado.
This was the fourth of five meetings between the Central Division teams this year. Chicago has earned points in each meeting, winning three handily and suffering an overtime loss. Colorado has surrendered 17 goals to the Hawks through the first four meetings. They will square off one final time this season at Pepsi Center on April 4.