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Blackhawks’ comeback spoiled by Cale Makar’s spectacular winner

Makar’s overtime goal gave the Avalanche a 4-3 win over the Hawks despite their strong effort after the first intermission.

Cale Makar schooled Kirby Dach and Marc-Andre Fleury for the overtime winner Tuesday.
Cale Makar schooled Kirby Dach and Marc-Andre Fleury for the overtime winner Tuesday.
Charles Rex Arbogast/AP

For a few minutes Tuesday, it looked like Alex DeBrincat — the star who has carried the Blackhawks so many times this season — might steal another win.

But Cale Makar — arguably the brightest among the Avalanche’s deep ensemble of stars — had other ideas.

Makar schooled Kirby Dach with a spin-o-rama, then Marc-Andre Fleury with a series of forehand-backhand puck handles to score an instant-classic overtime winner, dealing the Hawks a dramatic 4-3 loss. They’ve now lost five in a row, with three of those defeats coming in overtime.

“He’s a pretty special player, and he’s going to be a great player for a long time,” defenseman Calvin de Haan said. “He made a good play. It’s going to be all over NHL Network tomorrow. But we did a pretty good job overall against him and against their top players.”

The Avalanche seemed on track to run away with the game in the first period, hemming the Hawks in their zone throughout the period.

The game turned sharply after the intermission, however. High-danger scoring chances favored the Avs 5-0 in the first period but favored the Hawks 15-1 after that.

DeBrincat scored two power-play goals 40 seconds apart early in the third period to briefly give the Hawks the lead until a deflection past Fleury — who made 29 saves in his return from COVID — tied the score.

Jonathan Toews, who scored the Hawks’ first goal, had two glorious opportunities to win it before Makar scored.

“You want to see those go in,” Toews said. “You have to find ways to just feel that knack, feel you’re going to get that bounce and you’re going to get lucky. We know we played a lot better, especially the last 40 minutes, but we’re definitely not satisfied. We need to find a way to get results, and every guy feels that.”