It was Chicago's first game at its Madison Street home in nearly
five weeks, but the Avalanche were not conciliatory guests.
The Blackhawks were taught a valuable lesson that numerous teams in
the NHL have learned thus far this season: never let the Avalanche
score the opening goal. With the win, the Avalanche are now 31-1-3
when scoring first this season.
The victory was also the 40th of the season for Colorado in 62
games, the fastest the Avs have reached 40 in team history.
Colorado (40-17-5) is 13-5-0 in its last 18 games and 17-6-1 in its
Chicago fell to 36-13-14 despite outshooting Colorado 38 to 21.
Avalanche goalie Semyon Varlamov (31-11-5) posted his 31st win of
Chicago used a pressing defense to keep the Avalanche as far away
from Blackhawks goalie Corey Crawford as possible during the first
period, and the strategy worked as Colorado managed just three shots
on goal to 11 for Chicago.
Colorado looked like an entirely different team in the second
period, playing a much stronger and attacking style on offense. The
Avalanche came into the game with a 30-1-3 record when scoring first
and looked to extend that early in the second period when center
Maxime Talbot scored his seventh goal of the season at 2:49.
Kept back on their skates for most of the second period because of
Colorado's pressuring offense, Chicago finally found an opening and
tied the score at 16:52 of the second period on right winger Ben
Smith's eighth goal of the season.
The Blackhawks were without right winger Marian Hossa, who will be
sidelined two to three weeks with an upper-body injury suffered in
Saturday's Stadium Series game against the Pittsburgh Penguins.
Colorado regained the lead early in the third period on center Ryan
O'Reilly's team-leading 24th goal of the season at 1:23, but Chicago
came back to tie it at 7:17 on the power-play with captain Jonathan
Toews' 22nd goal of the season.
Including Saturday's Stadium Series game at Soldier Field, Toews has
been on a hot streak, having scored three goals and an assist in the
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Barrie's goal came on the power play at 12:50, putting the Avalanche
ahead 3-2 and setting the stage for Stastny's ultimate insurance
goal at 19:27, his 20th goal of the season.
Colorado is assured of winning the season series, now 3-1-0 with one
game remaining next week in Denver. The Avalanche are 49-50-9-7 all
time against the Blackhawks.
Coming to an end was Colorado center Nathan MacKinnon's 11-game
point streak (five goals, 11 assists), which was tied for the second
longest of any NHL rookie in the past 15 seasons, dating to 1998-99.
The NHL record is 20 straight games by Paul Stastny in 2006-07.
Had MacKinnon scored a goal on Tuesday, he would have tied Wayne
Gretzky's NHL record for the longest point streak by an 18-year-old.
Gretzky went 12 straight games with a point from Dec. 9, 1979 to
Jan. 5, 1980. MacKinnon led all NHL rookies in points (49), goals
(22), assists (27), power-play goals (8), game-winning goals
(5-tied) and shots (180) coming into the game.
Colorado has scored 23 goals in its last five games, an average of
more than four per game.
NOTES: After drawing a franchise-record 62,921 fans at Soldier Field
for Saturday's Stadium Series game against the Pittsburgh Penguins,
the Blackhawks were back to their normal sellout crowd of 21,361 at
the United Center. ... Tuesday was the second of 10 home games this
month for the Blackhawks. ... Chicago hosts the Columbus Blue
Jackets on Thursday. The Avalanche play the Red Wings in Detroit on
Thursday before heading home. ... The Blackhawks signed LW Brandon
Bollig to a three-year contract extension on Monday and then added
two more players Tuesday. They acquired defensemen David Rundblad
and Mathieu Brisebois from the Phoenix Coyotes in exchange for a
second-round pick in this year's draft. Rundblad was due to join the
Blackhawks on Wednesday and Brisebois will report to AHL Rockford.
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