Skip to Main Content

At the Rink: Avalanche at Blackhawks

by Brian Hedger

CHICAGO -- The Colorado Avalanche are looking forward to playing the Chicago Blackhawks at United Center on Tuesday (8:30 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CSN-CH), when they'll have a chance to end Patrick Kane's 26-game point streak.

Led by goalie Semyon Varlamov, who is 10-3-0 in his career against the Blackhawks, the Avalanche (14-16-1) will carry a lot of confidence into the game. If they win, it will complete a sweep of their three-game road trip. If they keep Kane off the scoresheet, they'll be the first team to do so since the Washington Capitals at Verizon Center on Oct. 15.

"I think everyone wants to end it, no doubt about it," Avalanche forward Gabriel Landeskog said. "But it's impressive. Not just 26 games in itself, but also coming off winning a Stanley Cup and a new contract kicking in. I mean, it'd be easy to be satisfied, I guess, but he's just showing what type of player he is. He wants to be the best and he's shown that he's definitely one of the best in the League, no doubt. It's impressive."

Colorado defenseman Erik Johnson became friends with Kane when they were teenagers playing in the United States Developmental program. Johnson said he's kept in contact with Kane throughout the streak through text messages.

"I always text him like, 'Lucky assist' or 'Lucky goal' or 'I don't think you touched that ... I think someone else tipped it in,'" Johnson said. "We kind of have a friendly banter back and forth with that. It's great for the game, what he's doing, so I'm really happy for him."

Johnson was asked about Kane's response to his texting.

"He just laughs and calls me by one of our old nicknames that I won't share," Johnson said. "It's pretty funny. We enjoy the banter. It's a lot of fun."

Johnson said he might joke around with Kane a little bit during the game, but probably won't say much.

"I find that [when] you poke and prod those top guys, they're going to burn you," Johnson said. "At the faceoff, I'll maybe say something here and there, and so will he. But it's all in good fun. We'd love to get a win tonight and end his streak, but at the same time, maybe we get a win and his streak keeps going, I don't know. I wish him the best. It's great to see what he's doing for the game. It's a pretty impressive streak."

The Blackhawks (17-10-4) made news Monday by trading defenseman Trevor Daley to the Pittsburgh Penguins for Rob Scuderi, a 36-year-old defenseman. Scuderi arrived in Chicago on Tuesday and participated in the morning skate. He will play the left point on the third pairing with 37-year-old Michal Rozsival.

"He's played in big situations, he's won championships, he knows big games and I think he can play against top lines," Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville said. "He keeps it simple. Nothing wrong with the defense-first mentality. That's something we appreciate."

Right wing Marian Hossa did not participate in the Blackhawks' skate, but Quenneville said he's fine and will play. Corey Crawford, who was named the NHL's First Star of the Week on Monday, will start in net for Chicago.

Colorado will have one lineup change. Defenseman Zach Redmond will be back in the lineup and Brandon Gormley will be scratched. Redmond will play right point on the third defense pairing, with Nate Guenin shifting to the left.

Varlamov, who went 3-0-0 against the Blackhawks last season, will start in net for the Avalanche.

Here are the projected lineups:


Gabriel Landeskog - Nathan Mackinnon - Matt Duchene

Blake Comeau - Carl Soderberg - Andreas Martinsen

Alex Tanguay - John Mitchell - Jarome Iginla

Cody McLeod - Mikhail Grigorenko - Jack Skille

Francois Beauchemin - Erik Johnson

Nick Holden - Tyson Barrie

Nate Guenin - Zach Redmond

Semyon Varlamov

Reto Berra

Injured: Ben Street (chest), Jesse Winchester (concussion), Brad Stuart (back)

Scratched: Brandon Gormley, Chris Wagner


Teuvo Teravainen - Jonathan Toews - Marian Hossa

Artemi Panarin - Artem Anisimov - Patrick Kane

Bryan Bickell - Dennis Rasmussen - Andrew Shaw

Brandon Mashinter - Marcus Kruger - Andrew Desjardins

Duncan Keith - Trevor Van Riemsdyk

Niklas Hjalmarsson - Brent Seabrook

David Rundblad - Michal Rozsival

Corey Crawford

Scott Darling

Injured: None

Scratched: Ryan Garbutt, Rob Scuderi

Status report: Garbutt skated at right wing on the top line in place of Hossa during line rushes, but Hossa will play. ... Redmond hadn't played in six games and Gormley hadn't been scratched in the past six contests.

Who's hot: Crawford has shutouts in his past two starts and made 121 saves on the past 123 shots faced (.984 save percentage). He hasn't allowed a goal in 140:46. ... Varlamov made 42 saves in the Avalanche's 3-1 win at the St. Louis Blues on Sunday, and has won three straight starts. He's 4-1-0 with a 1.39 goals-against average and .958 save percentage in five starts this month.

View More