CHICAGO – Andrew Ladd made sure the Chicago Blackhawks earned a full two points in the longest shootout in their history.
Ladd beat Colorado goalie Craig Anderson with a high shot in the ninth round of the shootout to give the Blackhawks a 4-3 victory Saturday night in their home opener. “I was just trying not to miss it,” Ladd said. “You stick with the one move you have and go for it.”
Ladd, who scored 15 goals last season, is better known for his physical play than finesse around the net. He was credited with his first regulation goal of the season, on a deflection of John Madden’s shot, in the second period.
“I know I’m near the bottom (of shootout shooters),” Ladd said. “Usually it doesn’t go that long. Luckily enough, tonight I got a shot.”
Jonathan Toews, Kris Versteeg and Tomas Kopecky also connected in the shootout to help Chicago improve to 2-1-1. Milan Hejduk, Marek Svatos and Darcy Tucker scored in the shootout for Colorado, also 2-1-1.
“That was the deepest I think I’ve ever been (in a shootout),” Chicago coach Joel Quenneville said. “Certainly we like the result.”
Chicago goalie Cristobal Huet stopped 16 shots in regulation, then six Avalanche players – including Wojtek Wolski, Paul Stastny and Matt Duchene – in the shootout.
Wolski had a league-leading 10 shootout goals in 12 attempts last season.
“It’s demanding, but at the same time you want to stay focused and make the save that counts at the end,” Huet said.
In the ninth shootout round, Huet stopped rookie Matt Hendricks, who had scored his first NHL goal in regulation. Then Ladd connected to win it.
Ladd, Cam Barker and Duncan Keith scored in regulation for Chicago. Ladd’s goal originally was credited to Madden, but awarded to him after the game.
Wolski and Hejduk also scored in regulation for the Avalanche. Wolski, who added an assist, has four goals in four games.
Anderson, who has started each of the Avalanche’s four games, made 23 saves through overtime. Anderson began his NHL career with the Blackhawks and signed with the Avalanche as a free agent last summer following three season with Florida.
“I think that was the longest shootout I was in,” Anderson said. “The pressure starts to build. I’ll take it game by game. My job is to give the team a chance to win.”
The two teams traded goals throughout regulation; neither club held more than a one-goal lead.
The Avalanche played the second game of a seven-game road trip, their longest since moving to Denver from Quebec City in 1995. Chicago played its first game at the United Center after opening the season with two contests against Florida in Helsinki, followed by a game in Detroit.
Barker scored the lone goal in the first period on a power-play with 2:08 left. His screened drive from the right point slid under Anderson’s right pad as Chicago’s Kopecky and Toews created traffic.
Hendricks tied it at 1, 2:35 into the second. After Huet stopped T.J. Galiardi’s shot from the slot, Hendricks backhanded in the rebound from the right side of the net.
Wolski gave the Avalanche a 2-1 lead at 5:45 when he tipped in Scott Hannan’s shot from the top of the slot.
Ladd tied it 2-2 just 29 seconds later when Madden’s rebound shot apparently deflected in off him. Madden cut through the slot and fired in a rebound of Niklas Hjalmarsson’s shot from the point.
Hejduk put Colorado ahead 3-2 with 4:32 left in the second with a 5-on-3 power-play goal, one-timed from the left edge of the crease. Keith replied 40 seconds later with a short-handed goal when he pinched into the crease and converted Versteeg’s feed.
The third period was scoreless. Hejduk’s point-blank tip-in attempt hit the right post with 3:40 left.
Notes: The Blackhawks previous record shootout was eight rounds, at Dallas in 2006…..A Blackhawks defenceman has either scored or assisted on 11 of the team’s 12 goals this season. … Chicago LW Ben Eager missed his second game because of concussion-like symptoms. C Dave Bolland returned after missing one game with a sore lower back. Blackhawks RW Jack Skille played after being recalled from Rockford of the AHL earlier in the day. … Colorado D Ruslan Salei sat out his third game with a back injury. … Chicago D Jordan Hendry and Colorado C T.J. Hensick were healthy scratches.