Preview: Avalanche at Blackhawks
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[January 14, 2014]
The defending Stanley Cup champion
Chicago Blackhawks continue their four-game homestand when they meet the
Colorado Avalanche on Tuesday. "It was nice that we played the right way
(against Edmonton)," coach Joel Quenneville told reporters after
Sunday's 5-3 victory. "It will certainly give us confidence in the later
stages of games. The next three games are all big tests for us and we
want to make sure we have a real good homestand here. It could put us
back in a better spot." Chicago leads the Central Division by three
points over St. Louis and is nine clear of Colorado, with games against
first-place clubs Anaheim and Boston on the horizon.
Colorado has as many wins as losses (16-11-5) since its 12-1-0
start but has won five of its last seven games following a 4-2
victory at Minnesota on Saturday. "(It) meant a lot of confidence
for us and two points are big when we're going to an even tougher
barn in Chicago (on Tuesday)," Ryan O'Reilly told reporters after
scoring two goals. Avalanche center Paul Stastny did not practice
Monday after leaving Saturday's game with a leg injury, leaving the
United States Olympian day-to-day.
TV: 8 p.m. ET, Altitude (Colorado), CSN (Chicago)
ABOUT THE AVALANCHE (28-12-5): Colorado's top two scorers — Matt
Duchene and captain Gabriel Landeskog — have fared well against
Chicago in their young careers, with Duchene recording five goals
and 14 points in 14 games and Landeskog six tallies and eight points
in nine contests. Defenseman Tyler Barrie will play after missing
Saturday's game with a shoulder injury, but backup goaltender
Jean-Sebastien Giguere (7-4-0, 2.65 goals-against average, .911 save
percentage) is out indefinitely with back spasms. Saturday began a
stretch during which Colorado plays 10-of-14 games on the road prior
to the Winter Olympic break.
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ABOUT THE BLACKHAWKS (30-8-10): Chicago is 2-1-3 in its last
six games, but captain Jonathan Toews hasn't let the team's
sub-par play affect him by recording at least a point in each
contest, totaling two goals and five assists. Andrew Shaw had a
strong game Sunday, setting the tone early with a big hit and
matching a career high with his 12th goal. "We've got to move
forward and keep believing in one another," Shaw told reporters.
"It's a long season, we've just got to push each other."
The teams scored 42 goals while splitting the last six
meetings, with Chicago winning the last encounter 7-2 on Dec. 27
as Patrick Sharp celebrated his 32nd birthday with his third
career hat trick.
Colorado recalled G Sami Aittokallio from Lake Erie of the
American Hockey League to back up Semyon Varlamov (21-8-5, 2.35,
Blackhawks RW Patrick Kane had two assists Sunday, giving him
three points in his last seven contests since totaling eight
goals and 25 assists during a 14-game point streak.
PREDICTION: Blackhawks 5, Avalanche 3
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