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Division Rivalry: Chicago Blackhawks

Avs and Blackhawks met in the Stanley Cup Playoffs in back-to-back years

by Zach Shapiro /

The rivalry between the Colorado Avalanche and Chicago Blackhawks developed in short order once the Avs relocated to Denver ahead of the 1995-96 season as the clubs met in the Stanley Cup Playoffs in each of the Avalanche's first two seasons.

Heated from the Start

Placed in the same conference once the franchise moved to the Mile High City, Colorado and Chicago took their battle to the 1996 postseason. The Avs defeated the Blackhawks in six games in the conference semifinals, a series that saw four extended finishes, tied for the franchise's most overtime games in a series.

Game 4 of the best-of-seven set is the longest contest in Avalanche franchise history, requiring 44:33 of extra time. Down 2-1 in the series, the game remained tied at 2-2 until Joe Sakic scored to even the playoff matchup and vault the Avs to three straight wins. Colorado went on to defeat the Detroit Red Wings 4-2 in the Western Conference Finals and swept the Florida Panthers to win its first Stanley Cup.

The playoff rematch came just one year later, this time in the conference quarterfinals. Sakic had four multi-point performances as 12 points (three goals, nine assists) in the Avs' 4-2 series win.

Since the early years of the rivalry, Colorado won another Stanley Cup (2001) while the Blackhawks hoisted the Cup three times (2010, 2013 and 2015) in five years. Through all that's happened between 1995 and today--as both teams enjoyed moments on top, rebuilt their rosters and introduced new NHL stars--the rivalry has persisted. Since 1995-96, Colorado holds a 52-31-11 series lead, including a 28-13-6 mark at home and 24-18-5 record as the visiting team.

More Recently

The Avalanche and Blackhawks jockeyed for the final Western Conference wild-card spot last season, as Colorado fended off its opponent for months before securing the West's eighth seed in the 2019 playoffs.

The race was highlighted by a back-to-back, home-and-home set from March 23-24. The Avs won the first game 4-2 in Denver, and while they fell 2-1 in overtime in Chicago the next night, the OT point helped created separation in the standings with the Blackhawks. The Avalanche finished the weekend five points ahead of Chicago and a two-point cushion on the Minnesota Wild and Arizona Coyotes for the second wild-card spot in the West.

Colorado is 6-1-3 in its last 10 games versus Chicago and boasts a 4-1-1 mark in its last 6 home meetings.

Season Series

Nov. 29 @ Colorado
Nov. 30 @ Chicago
Dec. 18 @ Chicago
Dec. 21 @ Colorado

Past Avs

Joe Sakic had 65 career points (23 goals, 42 assists) against the Blackhawks and added 20 (nine goals, 11 assists) in 12 Stanley Cup Playoff games, the most for any player since 1991-92. He recorded the first five-point outing of any Avalanche player with two goals and three assists in a 7-3 win against Chicago on Nov. 5, 1995. Sakic leads all Colorado skaters with 47 points as an Av against the Blackhawks while Peter Forsberg is second with 43 points (10 goals, 33 assists) in 28 contests. In the postseason, Avalanche goaltender Patrick Roy played Chicago 12 times and won eight of those matchups, tied for the most victories since the 1996 playoffs. His 1.96 goals-against average versus the Hawks in the postseason is the third best among netminders (min. five games played) since the Avs relocated to Denver.

Recent Avs

Avs captain Gabriel Landeskog (11 goals, 14 assists) and defenseman Erik Johnson (five goals, 20 assists) both have 25 points against Chicago, tied for the team lead. Nathan MacKinnon has 21 points (eight goals, 13 assists) in 27 career games and Mikko Rantanen has 11 career points (six goals, five assists) versus the Blackhawks. Rantanen recorded his 200th NHL point on Feb. 22 in a 5-3 win at Chicago and that same night, Northbrook, Illinois, native J.T. Compher turned in his first three-point game (two goals, one assist) against his hometown team.

The Blackhawks

Jonathan Toews has 45 points against the Avalanche (21 goals, 24 assists), the third-most for any NHL player versus Colorado since his rookie season in 2007-08. Right below him on that list is Patrick Kane, who has 44 points (15 goals, 29 assists) in his career against the Avalanche, including six three-point games. Behind them is defenseman Duncan Keith, who has 34 points (three goals, 31 assists) through 57 contests between the clubs. In the two postseason matchups between the clubs, Tony Amonte notched a team-most eight points (five goals, three assists) in nine outings.

Other Colorado-Chicago Notes

The Avs won eight of their first 10 matchups with the Blackhawks (8-2-0) after moving to Denver in 1995… Colorado won seven consecutive games versus Chicago from Nov. 25, 2002-Jan. 11, 2004… The Avalanche/Quebec Nordiques franchise holds a 68-54-17 all-time record against the Blackhawks.

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