Preview: Avalanche at Blackhawks
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[March 04, 2014]
Chicago Blackhawks coach Joel
Quenneville took a positive approach after learning that right wing
Marian Hossa will be out of the lineup for a period of time — beginning
with Tuesday's game against the visiting Colorado Avalanche. "Probably
2-3 weeks we're looking at," Quenneville told reporters of Hossa's
upper-body injury. "There's going to be some quality ice time shared
among the guys (now)." Hossa, who plays on the top line with captain
Jonathan Toews and Patrick Sharp, was injured during the Blackhawks' 5-1
victory over the Pittsburgh Penguins on Saturday in the finale of the
2014 NHL Stadium Series at Soldier Field in Chicago.
The Blackhawks are tied with St. Louis atop the Central Division — three points ahead of the Avalanche — while Colorado has a game in
hand on Chicago. The Avalanche, who are coming off a 6-3 victory
over the Tampa Bay Lightning on Sunday, continue to be the surprise
of the NHL and are 17 points clear for a Stanley Cup playoff spot.
While Colorado has seven forwards with at least 12 goals, it was
four scores from defensemen which propelled the Avalanche past the
TV: 8 p.m. ET, Altitude (Colorado), CSN Chicago, RDS (Canada)
ABOUT THE AVALANCHE (39-17-5): Colorado defensemen have accounted
for 33 goals this season after recording only five in 48 contests
during the shortened 2012-13 campaign. "We are working as a unit of
five,'' coach Patrick Roy told reporters. "Our forwards are doing a
really good job of supporting our 'D' defensively. As a coach, we
love when our 'D' jump into the rush and that is what we have been
doing." This could be the final game in an Avalanche sweater for
Paul Stastny (19 goals, 46 points), who can become an unrestricted
free agent at season's end, but Colorado could deal or sign him to
an extension prior to Wednesday's trade deadline.
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ABOUT THE BLACKHAWKS (36-12-14): Quenneville said he might promote
Brandon Saad (18 goals, 41 points, team-best plus-27) from the
second line to replace Hossa (24 goals, 50 points, plus-25), who
took a hard hit from Pittsburgh's Craig Adams in the first period
and did not return. In that scenario, third-line center Andrew Shaw
would replace Saad as the second-line right wing, which would open a
spot for center Peter Regin. It appears Hossa's injury will not
change Chicago's approach prior to the trade deadline — "I think
we're fine,'' Quenneville said — as the 35-year-old Slovakian should
be back before the postseason begins.
Colorado C Nathan MacKinnon, the favorite to win the Calder
Trophy as the league's top rookie, has an 11-game point streak with
five goals and 11 assists during that span. The streak is the
longest since Stastny's NHL record run of 20 games set in the
Chicago LW Brandon Bollig agreed to terms on a three-year
contract extension Monday. Financial terms were not disclosed by the
team, but reports detailed it was for $3.75 million.
The Avalanche posted a 3-2 overtime win on Jan. 14 on D Tyson
Barrie's second goal of the game. They lead the season series 2-1-0.
PREDICTION: Blackhawks 4, Avalanche 2
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