Attempting to parlay the momentum from Peter Bondra's 500th goal into their third consecutive victory over the Colorado Avalanche, the Blackhawks encountered a team that was plenty rested Saturday night.
A little too rested, in fact.
Because of a blizzard that heaped 2 to 3 feet of snow on the Denver area earlier in the week, the Avalanche's practice Wednesday and game Thursday night against Calgary were postponed.
The Hawks, meanwhile, were coming off an emotional home victory against the Maple Leafs that included Bondra's milestone Friday night.
The Hawks' additional fatigue turned out to be the determining factor as they fell to the Avalanche 3-2 at the Pepsi Center.
"Two days doesn't seem like a long time, but it is if you haven't skated or done much," said Avalanche right wing Brad Richardson, whose snowbound team shook off the rust Friday with an hourlong practice.
The Avalanche showed no sings of rust and the Hawks no signs of weariness in the entertaining first period that ended 2-2.
The Hawks leaped to an early 1-0 lead when former Avalanche forward Radim Vrbata directed a sweet feed from Tuomo Ruutu past goaltender Jose Theodore 2 minutes 45 seconds in.
But the Hawks relinquished the lead quickly as Joe Sakic won a battle in front of the net with goaltender Nikolai Khabibulin to tie it.
Then Jassen Cullimore helped the Avalanche to a 2-1 lead. Yes, Cullimore is a Hawks defenseman, but his attempted sweep-away went past an unsuspecting Khabibulin. The goal was credited to Wojtek Wolski.
The Hawks tied it on a short-handed goal by Patrick Sharp, who broke free for his fifth goal of the season.
Wolski didn't leave the arena feeling sheepish about the faux goal because he added a legitimate score early in the second period. His rocket from the right side put the Avalanche ahead 3-2 at 4:35.
The Hawks entered the game with five wins in their previous seven games, including a 2-1 home win Dec. 17 in which the Blackhawks were able to curtail the free-skating ways of the finesse Avalanche, which entered Saturday as the third-highest scoring team in the NHL (3.21 goals per game).Copyright © 2015, Los Angeles Times