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Rapid Reaction: Hawks 3, Avalanche 1

DENVER -- Here's a quick look at the Blackhawks' 3-1 victory over the Colorado Avalanche on Thursday:

How it happened: Patrick Sharp broke a 1-1 tie with a goal midway through the third period after Avalanche goalie Semyon Varlamov made two great saves in a row. The third time was the charm for Sharp. It was a bit of a sloppy affair by the visitors though they hung in there thanks mostly to goalie Corey Crawford, who made big saves throughout but couldn’t stop a deflection off the body of Ryan O’Byrne late in the second to tie the game. Jonathan Toews scored on a beauty of a backhander in the first on a nice set-up by Nick Leddy and Dan Carcillo. The Hawks took just one minor penalty in the game, a huge factor. Marian Hossa added an empty-net goal with 1:10 remaining.

What it means: The Hawks improved to 4-1-1 and Crawford was the key for the first two-thirds of the game. He stopped everything, including a point blank chance by Paul Stastny, on the lone power play of the night for the Avalanche. Colorado came in 7 for their last 12 with the man advantage so staying nearly penalty-free was at the top of the Hawks’ to-do list coming in, and they succeeded. The Hawks were looking for a little more production from their top line guys and both Toews and Sharp produced. The Hawks played great in the final 20 minutes.

What’s next: The Hawks return to Chicago after the game for a practice session on Friday before hosting the Avalanche in the back end of a home and home set on Saturday.