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Rapid Recap: Avalanche 5, Blackhawks 2

Nathan MacKinnon has four points, J.T. Compher registers three in Windy City win

by Ron Knabenbauer @RonKnab / ColoradoAvalanche.com

The Colorado Avalanche began a back-to-back, home-and-home set against the Chicago Blackhawks with a 5-2 victory on Friday afternoon at United Center in Chicago.

Nathan MacKinnon produced four points (one goal, three assists) for the third time this season and J.T. Compher tied a career high with three points (one goal, two assists).

MacKinnon scored on a deflection just 59 seconds after the opening faceoff, and the Avalanche held a 3-1 lead heading into the first intermission. MacKinnon had assists on the team's other two goals in the period tallied by defensemen Ryan Graves and Cale Makar.

Valeri Nichushkin recorded his second goal of the season on a breakaway at 9:45 of the second period and Compher scored his third marker of the year 1:41 later. Matt Nieto also had an assist in the contest for Colorado, which received 34 saves from goaltender Pavel Francouz.

For the Blackhawks, Zack Smith and Patrick Kane scored and goaltender Corey Crawford stopped 18-of-23 shots.

The teams face off again on Saturday at 7 p.m. MT at Pepsi Center.

Statistics | Photo Gallery | Highlights 

THE GOALS

1st Period
0:59 COL (1-0) - Nathan MacKinnon got a piece of J.T. Compher's outside shot and redirected it into the cage.
3:17 COL (2-0) - Ryan Graves whacked a shot into the open net from the left side after a rebound off goalie Corey Crawford.
9:14 CHI (2-1) - Zack Smith took a pass from Ryan Carpenter at the front of the net and wristed a shot far-side.
12:20 COL (3-1) - PPG, Cale Makar's shot from the high slot went top shelf after Corey Crawford was screened in front by Joonas Donskoi.

2nd Period
9:45 COL (4-1) - Valeri Nichushkin registered his second goal of the season as he scored on a backhand shot during a breakaway off a defensive-zone faceoff.
11:26 COL (5-1) - J.T. Compher took a pass from Nathan MacKinnon on a 3-on-1 rush and scored short-side from the right circle.
19:56 CHI (5-2) - Patrick Kane tallied on a backhand shot down low while goalie Pavel Francouz dived to try and make the save.

3rd Period
No Scoring

Final: Avalanche - 5 | Blackhawks - 2

3 STARS

  1. Nathan MacKinnon (COL): Tied a season high with four points (one goal, three assists)
  2. J.T. Compher (COL): Tied a career high with three points while playing in his hometown
  3. Cale Makar (COL): Scored for his 16th point of the month

Selected by Mark Lazerus of The Athletic Chicago

POWER PLAYS

Colorado: 1 for 3
Chicago: 0 for 1

GOALTENDING BATTLE

Colorado: Pavel Francouz stopped 34-of-36 shots
Chicago: Corey Crawford made 18 saves on 23 shots

STAT OF THE NIGHT

Early MacK Attack: Nathan MacKinnon registered a goal and two assists in the first period for his third three-point period of the season (Nov. 7 vs. Nashville, Nov. 12 at Winnipeg). MacKinnon also registered another assist for his third four-point game of the campaign and third in the last 23 days.

MacKinnon also extended his point streak to six games (five goals, eight assists), with him posting multi-point performances in four of those outings. He now has 22 points (nine goals, 13 assists) in 13 games this month and has combined for 65 points (23 goals, 43 assists) in 39 November games since 2017, the most of any player.

NOTEBOOK

Cale Makar scored and now has 16 points (seven goals, nine assists) in 13 games this month, the third-most by any rookie defenseman in the month of November trailing only Larry Murphy (18 in 1980) and Nicklas Lidstrom (17 in 1991)… Makar's tally was his third game-winning goal of the season, which leads all defensemen in the league... Chicago-area native J.T. Compher of the Avs tied a career high with three points (one goal, two assists), previously set on Feb. 22 at Chicago… It was Compher's third multi-point game of the season… Pavel Francouz's shutout streak ended at 87:50, the longest of his NHL career… Valeri Nichushkin has points in three straight games (two goals, one assist) to match his career-long streak and has four points in his last five games (two goals, two assists)… Ryan Graves matched a career best with a plus-3 rating (Oct. 5, 2019 vs. Minnesota)… Sheldon Dries and Nikita Zadorov each finished with seven hits, matching an Avalanche season high (also: Zadorov on Nov. 23 vs. Toronto and Gabriel Landeskog on Oct. 16 at Pittsburgh) and a career high for Dries… The Avalanche improved to 3-1-0 in the first game of back-to-back sets… Colorado was playing the second of six afternoon contests this season and the second and last one on the road. The Avs are now 2-0-0 in afternoon affairs in 2019-20... The Avs and Blackhawks were playing the first of four games in the season series, all of which will take place in a 23-day span... Colorado is 8-0-1 when leading after the first period and 11-0-1 when carrying a lead after the second frame. 

QUOTABLE

Defenseman Cale Makar on playing the Blackhawks twice in two days: "It's another big, four-point game tomorrow. They're a good team, and it's just going to be managing it like we did tonight. We had a lot of ups and downs, but I thought we played well overall."

BIG HIGHLIGHT

Video: COL@CHI: Nichushkin shows off speed on breakaway goal

IMAGE OF THE GAME

Return of the MacK.

ROSTER REPORT

Goaltender Pavel Francouz made his first start in net since Nov. 12 at the Winnipeg Jets… The Avalanche recalled forwards Sheldon Dries and A.J. Greer from the AHL Colorado Eagles on Thursday… Dries made his season debut… Mark Barberio and Greer were the healthy scratches.

INJURY UPDATE

Andre Burakovsky missed his first game of the season with an upper-body injury… Mikko Rantanen missed his 16th straight game with a lower-body injury but is expected to return to the lineup on Saturday… Erik Johnson will miss both games against the Blackhawks with a lower-body injury… Matt Calvert (head) and Gabriel Landeskog (lower body) have both began skating on their own in non-contact jerseys… Colin Wilson remains out with a lower-body injury.

UP NEXT

The Avalanche and Blackhawks meet again on Saturday in Denver as the teams complete its back-to-back, home-and-home set. Colorado is playing its fourth of 12 back-to-back sets of the season.

LINE COMBINATIONS

Based on start of the game
Forwards
83 Matt Nieto - 29 Nathan MacKinnon - 72 Joonas Donskoi
17 Tyson Jost - 91 Nazem Kadri - 37 J.T. Compher
25 Logan O'Connor - 41 Pierre-Edouard Bellemare - 13 Valeri Nichushkin
15 Sheldon Dries - 81 Vladislav Kamenev - 36 T.J. Tynan

Defensemen
16 Nikita Zadorov - 8 Cale Makar
27 Ryan Graves - 49 Samuel Girard
48 Calle Rosen - 28 Ian Cole

Goaltenders
39 Pavel Francouz
31 Philipp Grubauer

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