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updated: 1/14/2014 11:26 PM

Hawks fend off angry Avalanche until overtime

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  • The Blackhawks' Nick Leddy (8) and Ryan O'Reilly of the Avalanche crash into goalie Corey Crawford during the first period Tuesday at the United Center.

      The Blackhawks' Nick Leddy (8) and Ryan O'Reilly of the Avalanche crash into goalie Corey Crawford during the first period Tuesday at the United Center.
    Associated Press

  • The Blackhawks' Johnny Oduya celebrates his goal with teammates from left, Niklas Hjalmarsson (4) Brandon Saad, Andrew Shaw and Patrick Kane (behind Shaw), during the second period Tuesday against the Avalanche at the United Center.

      The Blackhawks' Johnny Oduya celebrates his goal with teammates from left, Niklas Hjalmarsson (4) Brandon Saad, Andrew Shaw and Patrick Kane (behind Shaw), during the second period Tuesday against the Avalanche at the United Center.
    Associated Press

  • The Blackhawks' Andrew Shaw celebrates his game-tying goal in the third period Tuesday night against the Avalanche at the United Center.

      The Blackhawks' Andrew Shaw celebrates his game-tying goal in the third period Tuesday night against the Avalanche at the United Center.
    Associated Press

 
 

Following Tuesday's morning skate, Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews made the call.

The subject: the Colorado Avalanche, whose last visit to the United Center resulted in a 7-2 shellacking at the hands of the Hawks in late December.

"We know they're not going to be happy about that one," Toews predicted. "They've been sitting here in Chicago for a few days, so we know they're going to be ticked off and ready to go."

That they were.

But so, too, were the Hawks.

In the end the Avalanche had goaltender Semyon Varlamov and that proved the difference in a game where despite outshooting Colorado 48-26, the Hawks still managed to fall 3-2 in overtime.

"We knew he was a good goalie, probably one of the top two or three in the league," defenseman Niklas Hjalmarsson said. "That was pretty obvious today. He played great for them."

Varlamov kept the Hawks at bay early while the Avalanche built a 2-0 lead, and then he kept them at bay in the third period after Andrew Shaw's second goal in his last two games had tied the score and commenced a Blackhawks swarm that lasted most of the rest of the third and had the sold-out crowd buzzing.

But every time the Hawks swarmed, Varlamov answered.

"Outstanding," said Avs defenseman Tyson Barrie, who opened and closed the scoring Tuesday. "Nothing he does really surprises us anymore."

That cannot include his sliding, snap-off glove save of what looked to be a sure goal for Patrick Kane, whose own look of disbelief afterward said it all.

"He had one of those nights and that's going to happen," Kris Versteeg said of Varlamov. "We just have to keep going the way we did tonight.

"We played a really good hockey game."

But once again the Hawks struggled in a game that extended past regulation time, dropping to 0-5 in overtime games this season and 4-11 overall in all games stretching beyond 60 minutes.

Not helping the cause against Colorado on Tuesday was the fact that Barrie's game-winner came while the Avs were on a 4-on-3 power play thanks to a hooking call on Toews.

"I thought I had my stick on the puck the whole time," Toews said. "I think at any other time in the game you would probably make that call, but I just didn't think it had to be called at that point of the game."

But with the way Varlamov was playing, it probably wouldn't have mattered -- penalty or not.

"We rallied around Varly tonight," Avs coach Patrick Roy said. "We played with only 18 players, and against a team like this, it's a matter of finding a way to win a hockey game and that's just what we did."

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