After getting out to the hottest start in NHL history, the Blackhawks were unable to beat the Avs for the second time in three nights. Chicago began the season with 21 victories and three shootout losses and Colorado finally handed the team its first defeat in regulation.
Although the streak is over, the Blackhawks will certainly still be pleased with their position. Chicago currently holds a 10-point lead over the Anaheim Ducks atop the Western Conference.
The Blackhawks were seriously tested against Colorado on Wednesday in a 3-2 win, but appeared as if they would cruise to another victory when Friday night’s game started. Jonathan Toews opened the scoring just over five minutes after the puck dropped.
But Colorado’s Paul Stastny evened the score on a power play before the first period ended. When play restarted, the Avalanche seized momentum and did not let it go.
The home team dominated the second period and scored four goals, leaving the Blackhawks with a huge workload if they wished to extend their point streak. Colorado's Matt Duchene, John Mitchell, Ryan O’Reilly and Jamie McGinn all padded their stats during the offensive onslaught.
In the third period, the Blackhawks' Bryan Bickell made the score slightly more respectable, but Chicago never truly threatened to make a comeback, and P.A. Parenteau's late goal pushed Colorado's lead back to four.
The Avalanche were certainly an unlikely candidate to become the first team to beat the 2013 Blackhawks in regulation, as the victory gave them 22 points on the season, breaking a tie with the Columbus Blue Jackets for last place in the West.
However, the lockout-shortened season comes with a grueling schedule, and it is ultimately not that surprising that the Blackhawks finally hit a wall. Chicago was playing its third game in four nights. But it is still truly remarkable how long the Blackhawks went without losing in regulation under these circumstances.