Preview: Avalanche at Blackhawks

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[November 03, 2016]  A potent power play has proven to be pivotal for the Chicago Blackhawks, who have posted a 6-1-1 mark since starting the season with a pair of losses. The Blackhawks look to continue that trend as they vie for their fourth straight victory in Thursday's conclusion of a three-game homestand versus the Central Division-rival Colorado Avalanche.

Artem Anisimov collected his NHL high-tying seventh goal with a power-play tally and added an assist for his league-leading 13th point in a 5-1 victory over Calgary on Tuesday. The 28-year-old Russian has scored a goal in three straight and carries a career-high eight-game point streak into Thursday's tilt with Colorado, against which he has only mustered two goals in 12 career encounters. The Avalanche found themselves on the wrong end of a 5-1 decision to Nashville on Tuesday for their third loss in four outings. "It's not at all how we want to play," coach Jared Bednar told reporters. "It's pretty bad. ... We didn't find the intensity we needed for the game. It was disappointing because it was a chance for us to go a couple of games above .500 and now we're just spinning in the mud again."

TV: 8:30 p.m. ET, Altitude (Colorado), CSN Chicago

ABOUT THE AVALANCHE (4-4-0): Captain Gabriel Landeskog pulled no punches following Tuesday's lackluster loss, labeling the performance as "embarrassing" while promising the fans a much better effort. The 23-year-old Swede has notched an assist in back-to-back contests and has 17 points (nine goals, eight assists) in 21 career meetings with Chicago. Matt Duchene, who has 25 points (nine goals, 16 assists) in 25 encounters with the Blackhawks, joined Landeskog by setting up veteran Jarome Iginla's goal for his team-leading eighth point on Tuesday.

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ABOUT THE BLACKHAWKS (6-3-1): Like his team, Corey Crawford sputtered out of the blocks before getting his legs under him to send Chicago racing up the standings. The 31-year-old Montreal native has stopped 124 of the last 129 shots he's faced, including 33 of 34 versus Calgary on Tuesday. "He may have been a little frustrated when he wasn't getting the wins. At the same time, he was playing well, said reigning Hart Trophy recipient Patrick Kane, who recorded three points (one goal, two assists) versus the Flames and 32 (11 goals, 21 assists) in 34 career contests against the Avalanche.

OVERTIME

1. Colorado will play the second of four straight contests versus Central Division rivals on Thursday.

2. Chicago has thwarted its last nine short-handed situations after yielding 13 power-play goals on 27 chances.

3. The Avalanche are 2-for-19 on the power play since opening the season by scoring twice with the man advantage in back-to-back games.

PREDICTION: Blackhawks 4, Avalanche 2

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