Coming off a sweep of a two-game, Central Division road trip and winners of three straight, the Colorado Avalanche (33-29-12) returns home to host another divisional foe in the Chicago Blackhawks (32-31-10) on Saturday afternoon at Pepsi Center. It is the fourth and second-to-last matchup between the two clubs this season.
Colorado holds a 51-31-10 record against Chicago since 1995-96, which includes a 27-13-6 mark at home. The Avalanche is 1-1-1 against the Blackhawks during 2018-19 and 2-1-1 in its last four outings against Chicago at Pepsi Center.
Following the contest, the Avs head to the Windy City as the clubs complete a home-and-home, back-to-back set on Sunday at United Center.
Last Time Out
The Avalanche beat the Dallas Stars 3-1 at American Airlines Center on Thursday. Samuel Girard and Colin Wilson assisted on a second period tally by Erik Johnson, who was celebrating his 31st birthday. Girard added another helper as Tyson Barrie netted the eventual game-winner in the third frame. Tyler Seguin found the back of the cage to get Dallas within one score later in the period, but the Avs' Carl Soderberg sealed the win with an empty-net goal in the last minute of play. Colorado goaltender Philipp Grubauer stopped a career-high 44 shots to earn his third consecutive win in net and improve to 5-2-0 in his last seven starts.
Despite outshooting the Philadelphia Flyers 41-28, Chicago fell 3-1 at United Center on Thursday. Gustav Forsling and Jonathan Toews registered assists on Erik Gustafsson's goal in the first period, while three different members of the Flyers lit the lamp. Chicago netminder Corey Crawford made 25 saves between the pipes.
Last Time They Met
The Avs beat the Blackhawks 5-3 at United Center on Feb. 22. Carl Soderberg and J.T. Compher (two goals, one assist) both scored twice, and Gabriel Landeskog (one goal, one assist) and Patrik Nemeth (two assists) also put up multiple points in the outing. Dylan Strome, Patrick Kane and Alex DeBrincat tallied for Chicago, as the Hawks converted on 2-of-4 power-play opportunities. Semyon Varlamov made 41 saves in net for the Avalanche, while Chicago's Collin Delia stopped 26-of-30 shots.
What To Watch
Saturday's contest marks the sixth and final time Colorado plays a matinee game at Pepsi Center during the regular season. The Avalanche has won its past two day games at home, shutting out the New Jersey Devils 3-0 last Sunday and blanking the Buffalo Sabres by the same score on March 9. Overall, the Avs are 6-4-2 in afternoon contests during the 2018-19 season, with a 3-2-0 mark on home ice. Saturday's games also marks the 13th and final day game of the campaign for Colorado (5 p.m. local start time or earlier).
After winning two games against Central Division rivals this week (3-1 over Stars; 3-1 against the Minnesota Wild), the Avalanche has won five of its last six outings against opponents from the Central (5-1-0). Overall, Colorado is 10-9-3 against teams from its own division this season. Chicago and the Winnipeg Jets are the only two Central squads that Colorado will face five times this year. After Saturday, the Avs have three more divisional games left on their schedule: Sunday at Chicago, April 1 versus the St. Louis Blues and April 4 against Winnipeg.
Players To Watch
Colorado: Defenseman Tyson Barrie
With his marker in Thursday's outing, Barrie extended his goal streak to a career-long three games (four goals overall). It was also the 300th point and 72nd tally of his career, the latter of which tied Sandis Ozolinsh's record for the most goals by a defenseman in franchise history. Barrie is the only blueliner in Avalanche/Quebec Nordiques history to notch 300 career points, as he is the all-time scoring leader for club D-men. The rear guard is on a four-game point streak and has racked up 11 goals and 41 assists this season.
Chicago: Left Wing Patrick Kane
Kane is third in the NHL in scoring, having racked up 101 points (41 goals, 60 assists) so far this year. Kane had a 20-game point streak between Jan. 3 and Feb. 22, the longest in the NHL this season. He ranks tied for third in the league with 41 goals and leads Chicago with 29 power-play points (nine goals, 20 assists) in 72 games. The forward has played 46 career games against Colorado and has produced 15 goals and 28 assists over that span.
Saturday's contest between the Avalanche and Blackhawks is slated for 1:00 p.m. MT. The game can be watched locally on Altitude 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.
After the contest, the Avalanche will travel to Chicago and will complete the season series against the Blackhawks on Sunday. It is Colorado's first home-and-home, back-to-back set since Dec. 16-17, 2013 against the Dallas Stars.