Three days after the Colorado Avalanche beat the Chicago Blackhawks 4-1 on the road on Wednesday, the teams' face off again at Pepsi Center on Saturday to close out their four-game season series.
The Avalanche also won the first two games against the Blackhawks this year, a home-and-home, back-to-back set on Nov. 29 (5-2 win in Chicago) and Nov. 30 (7-3 win in Denver).
Colorado is coming off a 3-1 loss to the Carolina Hurricanes on Thursday. The Avs led 1-0 with three minutes left in regulation but the Hurricanes scored twice in a span of 1:17 and added an empty-net goal with six seconds remaining. Gabriel Landeskog scored for the Avalanche while Philipp Grubauer made 37 saves.
The Blackhawks beat the Winnipeg Jets 4-1 on Thursday, as Patrick Kane recorded four points (one goal, three assists) and Alexander Nylander added a goal and an assist.
Avalanche vs. Chicago Blackhawks
Pepsi Center | Denver, Colo.
Avs left wing J.T. Compher is from the Chicago suburb of Northbrook, Illinois…Chicago assistant coach Marc Crawford was the head coach of the Avalanche/Nordiques from 1994-95 to 1997-98 and won a Stanley Cup with Colorado in 1996.
Colorado won the first three meetings this season against the Blackhawks, most recently on Wednesday by a score of 4-1. Ian Cole, Gabriel Landeskog and Mikko Rantanen each recorded two points in the victory. Nathan MacKinnon, who notched an assist on Wednesday, leads all Avalanche skaters with eight points (three goals, five assists) in three games against Chicago this year.
Colorado has earned a point in nine of the last 10 meetings between the clubs, going 7-1-2 in that span, and is 55-31-11 against the Blackhawks since 1995. The teams' met in the playoffs in 1996 and 1997, and the Avs closed out both series in six games.
The Avalanche reassigned Calle Rosen to the Colorado Eagles after the game on Thursday. Rosen has recorded two assists in eight games with the Avalanche this year.
Cale Makar (upper body) continues to recover but he hasn't played since Dec. 7 at the Boston Bruins… Colin Wilson (lower-body) is out indefinitely after undergoing surgery.
SCOUTING THE BLACKHAWKS
The Blackhawks (14-16-6) are in seventh place in the Central Division but since finishing October with a 3-6-2 record, the veteran team has gone 11-10-4. Since Nov. 1, Chicago has converted on 20.2 percent of its power plays, tied for 12th best in the NHL. The Blackhawks overall rate is 16.8 percent. Similarly, their penalty kill has been stronger since Nov. 1, finding success on 81.8 percent of their kills (tied for 12th best).
(OPPOSING) PLAYER TO WATCH: Patrick Kane
In his 13th season in the NHL, Patrick Kane continues to produce offensively. The former Hart Memorial Trophy recipient has 44 points (19 goals, 25 assists), tied for the ninth-most in the NHL, and has five goals and six assists in his last nine games.
Kane has 46 career points (17 goals, 29 assists) against the Avalanche, the fourth-most of any player since he entered the league in 2007-08. He also has six games versus Colorado in which he registered at least three points, the second-most of any player in that span.
Of the Avs' 22 wins, 19 have come in regulation, tied for the most regulation wins in the NHL.
Nathan MacKinnon has 29 career points (11 goals, 18 assists) against the Blackhawks, the most points he has against any opponent.
The Avalanche has scored the second most goals in the NHL, with 124, averaging 3.54 goals-per-game, which is also second in the league.
The Avalanche will close out the first of six divisional series on Saturday… With a win, Colorado can sweep a season series with the Blackhawks for just the second time since relocating to Denver (4-0-0 in 2002-03)… Ryan Graves and Ian Cole both rank in the top 10 in the NHL in plus-minus rating, with a plus-22 and a plus-18 mark, respectively. The Avs are one of just three teams with two players in the top 10 in the category.