Adam Foote made his return to the Avalanche lineup Friday night during Colorado’s 4-3 loss to the Chicago Blackhawks. The veteran defenseman had not played since suffering upper back and neck injuries in Colorado’s Nov. 22 contest against the Los Angeles Kings.
Foote missed nine games following the injury, but started tonight’s contest on the Avalanche blue line alongside John-Michael Liles.
Not only did he make it back on the ice, but he also received a few style points in his return. Foote recorded an assist on Ian Laperriere’s first-period goal, giving him 182 career helpers with the Avalanche/Nordiques and passing Sandis Ozolinsh (181) for the highest total by a defenseman in franchise history. With 237 career points (55g/182a) for Quebec and Colorado, Foote sits just 16 short of tying Ozolinsh’s mark for points by a defenseman (253).
“Playing with Footie was great tonight, it was great to have him back,” Liles said. “He sees the ice so well, and does things right and allows me to jump into the play a little bit.”
The Blackhawks got on the scoreboard first thanks to a Craig Adams tally from the low slot just 2:31 into the game. However, the Avs bounced back with a pair of goals before the end of the opening frame.
Chris Stewart evened the score at 10:50 on a blast from the right point. After Laperriere gained the offensive zone he dropped a pass to Stewart, who rifled a shot past Nikolai Khabibulin’s blocker. It was Stewart’s second goal in as many games.
The Avs then took the lead on Laperriere’s fourth goal of season, which came when the forward tipped home a John-Michael Liles centering feed at 14:06.
Chicago’s Dustin Byfuglien recorded the only goal of the middle frame after sneaking behind the Avalanche defense and beating Peter Budaj at 7:30.
In the third period it was the Avalanche’s turn to snag a breakaway goal, with Wojtek Wolski putting in his sixth tally of the year at 3:43. The left wing gave the Avs a 3-2 lead after taking a pass from David Jones
, splitting a pair of defenders and beating Khabibulin stick side.
However, it would be the last time the Avalanche would have an advantage in the game. Andrew Ladd tied the score at 3-3 midway through the period with a shot from the low slot at 9:59, while Byfuglien netted his second goal of the game at 13:51 – just three seconds after a hooking penalty to Jordan Leopold had expired.Liles Also Moving Up Charts
Foote wasn’t the only Avalanche blueliner moving up the franchise’s all-time scoring charts tonight. Liles, who was credited with the primary assist on Laperriere’s goal, broke a tie with Jeff Brown (170) for fifth place on the organization’s list for points by a defenseman. In 339 career games with the Avs, the Indianapolis native has recorded 171 points (46g/125a).Lappy an Offensive Threat
With all due respect, one of the Avalanche’s top offensive threats recently has also been one of its more unexpected. But with a goal and an assist tonight, Laperriere has now totaled 12 points (4g/8a) in 29 games this season. The veteran forward has been especially hot as of late, with nine of those points (3g/6a) coming in his last 10 outings.
Laperriere recorded 19 points (4g/15a) in 70 games a season ago.Dupuis Debut
Forward Philippe Dupuis made his NHL debut tonight after being recalled from the Lake Erie Monsters on Thursday afternoon. Dupuis had totaled eight points (4g/4a) and a +3 plus/minus rating in 20 games with the Monsters before his recall.
Dupuis totaled 7:21 of ice time tonight and was whistled for a boarding penalty in the second period.