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Avs Take On Blackhawks In First Game Of Road Trip

Colorado and Chicago meet for the second time this season

by Taylor Hodapp /

The Colorado Avalanche hits the road to take on the Chicago Blackhawks for the second time this campaign. The Central Division foes face off three times in month of March, once in the Mile High City and twice in Chicago, to close out the four-game season series.

Colorado is 48-30-8 against the Blackhawks in 86 meetings since 1995-96, including a 22-18-3 record as the visiting team.

Colorado (35-24-6) is coming off a four-game homestand where it earned a 3-0-1 record and outscored its opponents 18-8 during the stretch. Chicago (28-30-8) returns home after going 1-3-0 in four consecutive games away from the Windy City. The Blackhawks are 15-14-3 when at United Center this campaign.

Last Time Out

The Colorado Avalanche fell to the Nashville Predators 4-3 in overtime on Sunday. Nashville was first to light the lamp in the contest, but Nikita Zadorov got the Avs on the board to tie the game at 1-1 going into the first intermission. The Predators regained the lead in the second period, but Matt Nieto and Mikko Rantanen scored in the final frame to give Colorado the lead. With just more than a minute left, Nashville evened the scoring and sent the contest into an extra stanza and the Predators scored the game-winning tally 1:07 into overtime.

The Chicago Blackhawks were defeated 6-3 by the Anaheim Ducks on Sunday. The Ducks had a 4-0 lead halfway through the second period before the Blackhawks got on the scoreboard. Chicago got within two tallies in the third period, but the Ducks found the back of the net twice in less than ten minutes to regain a comfortable lead that lasted to the final horn.

Last Time They Met

The Nathan MacKinnon-centered line, with wingers Rantanen and Landeskog, combined for six points in its debut as a trio when Colorado defeated Chicago on Oct. 28. MacKinnon and Rantanen had each lit the lamp twice and Sven Andrighetto added to the lead to give Colorado a 5-0 advantage during the middle frame. The Blackhawks put two markers on the scoreboard before the second intermission and each team found the back of the net once in the third frame for a final score of 6-3.

What To Watch

Power-Play Rhythm

The Avalanche has tallied a power-play goal in a season-high four straight games. Colorado is 9-for-27 (33.3%) with the man advantage in its last seven contests. Rantanen and MacKinnon each notched their 26th power-play point this season on Sunday, putting them in a tie for 10th in the league in points on the man advantage. Tyson Barrie registered an assist on the marker and ranks fourth among NHL defensemen with 21 power-play points (3 goals, 18 assists).

Streaking Stars

Colorado has five players currently riding a point streak, led my MacKinnon who has 12 points (six goals, six assists) in his last five games. Rantanen has registered eight points (three goals, five assists) n his four-game point streak. Nieto has found the back of the net in three consecutive games for the first time in his career and Carl Soderberg has four points (one goal, three assists) in his last three games. Defenseman Tyson Barrie is also on a three-game point streak and Zadorov has three points (two goals, one assist) in his last four contests and has recorded six goals and 18 points this season, both career highs.  

Player To Watch

Colorado: Right Wing Mikko Rantanen

Rantanen has 64 points this season with 22 goals and 42 assists, ranking second on the Avalanche behind MacKinnon in all three categories. He averages 1.00 points per game and is tied for first on the Avs with 26 power-play points. The winger has recorded three goals and two assists in five outings against Chicago in his career.

Chicago: Right Wing Patrick Kane

The forward has played in all 66 contests for Chicago this season and leads the Blackhawks in all three scoring categories with 62 points (24 goals, 48 assists). He averages 20:21 of ice time and has recorded 19 power-play points this season. Kane has found the scoresheet in three of his last four games, including a three-point outing against the Los Angeles Kings on Saturday.

Lineup Notes

Semyon Varlamov will make his 37th start in the crease for Colorado this season. The netminder is 11-6-1 against Chicago with a 2.38 goals-against average and .930 save percentage in 19 career games against Chicago.

The Details

Puck drop for Tuesday's contest is slated for 6:30 p.m. MT. The game can be watched live locally on Altitude and the radio broadcast can be heard on Altitude Sports Radio AM 950.

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