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Colorado Begins Back-to-Back in Chicago

Avalanche starts big Central Division weekend against Blackhawks

by Dan Vatch / ColoradoAvalanche.com

The Colorado Avalanche (25-24-11) travels to the Windy City for the first time this season on Friday to face off against the Central Division-rival Chicago Blackhawks (26-26-9). The 5:30 p.m. MT matchup is the third of five regular-season meetings between the two clubs and the first at United Center.

The Avs own a 50-31-10 mark against Chicago since the 1995-96 season, including a 23-18-4 road record. Tyson Barrie leads the team with 25 points (seven goals, 18 assists) in 26 career games against the Blackhawks.

Colorado will finish its back-to-back road set at the Nashville Predators on Saturday at 3:30 p.m. MT before returning to Pepsi Center for a Monday matchup against the Florida Panthers. The Avalanche will play 12 of its final 20 games at home.

Last Time Out

The Avs recorded a 7-1 victory over the Winnipeg Jets at Pepsi Center on Wednesday--it was the third time this season that Colorado had registered seven goals in a game. A.J. Greer tallied his first career NHL goal while Carl Soderberg and Tyson Jost shared the team lead with three points apiece, each recording one goal and two assists. Sven Andrighetto and Matt Nieto each contributed two helpers in the win, while Mikko Rantanen, Nathan MacKinnon, Matt Calvert and Gabriel Landeskog also scored. Colorado netminder Semyon Varlamov stopped 26 shots to earn his third win in his last four starts.

Chicago beat the Detroit Red Wings 5-4 in overtime at Little Caesars Arena on Wednesday. Patrick Kane extended his point streak to 19 games (16 goals, 26 assists) with two markers, including the overtime game-winner. Artem Anisimov, Brandon Saad and Alex DeBrincat also added goals in Chicago's win, and Erik Gustafsson notched a career-high three assists. Cam Ward stopped 31 shots between the pipes for the Blackhawks.

Last Time They Met

The Avalanche fell 3-2 in overtime to Chicago at Pepsi Center on Dec. 29. The Blackhawks took a 2-0 lead with regulation goals from Alex DeBrincat and Patrick Kane before the Avs' Mikko Rantanen and Nathan MacKinnon tallied to even the score at 2-2 and send the contest to extra time. Kane notched the game-winner in OT as netminder Collin Delia made 30 stops for the Blackhawks. Semyon Varlamov made 34 saves between the pipes for the Avalanche. Colorado defenseman Erik Johnson recorded a season-high five blocked shots as he and Ryan Graves shared the team lead in the category

What To Watch

Jost With The Most

Tyson Jost recorded a career high three points (one goal, two assists) in Colorado's victory over Winnipeg. The St. Albert, Alberta, native now has 19 points (eight goals, 11 assists) in 48 appearances this season and is just three points shy of tying his career-best 22 points (12 goals, 10 assists) in 65 games a season ago. He has scored in back-to-back games, which included tallying the game-winning marker on Monday versus the Vegas Golden Knights.

WINdy City

Dating back to April 4, 2017, the Avs have earned points in six of their last seven contests against the Hawks. In that stretch, Mikko Rantanen (five goals, three assists), Nathan MacKinnon (four goals, four assists) and Tyson Barrie (two goals, six assists) have each registered eight points against their Central Division rival.

Players To Watch

Colorado: Left Wing A.J. Greer

The 22-year-old recorded his first career NHL goal in the victory over the Jets, giving him two points in 13 games with the Avs this season. He now has six points (one goal, five assists) in 35 career NHL contests. The forward from Joliette, Quebec, has recorded 17 hits this year.

Chicago: Right Wing Patrick Kane

The Buffalo, New York, native currently ranks second in the NHL with 92 points (38 goals, 54 assists), the second-most in a single season in his career. Kane's average ice time of 22:19 per game ranks tied for fifth among league forwards. In 45 career games against the Avs, the 30-year-old has recorded 42 points (14 goals, 28 assists).

The Details

Friday's clash between the Avalanche and Blackhawks is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. MT. The game can be watched locally on Altitude 2 or streamed on select devices with the AltitudeNOW app (in market) or NHL.tv (out of market). The radio broadcast can be heard on Altitude Sports Radio FM 92.5 in the Denver area or online at ColoradoAvalanche.com.

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