Avalanche's Sarich a late scratch vs. Blackhawks

by Brian Hedger / NHL.com

CHICAGO -- The Colorado Avalanche planned to play seven defensemen Tuesday night at United Center, but Cory Sarich was a late scratch with a reported back issue.

Sarich's absence left the Avalanche with 17 skaters against the defending Stanley Cup champion Chicago Blackhawks.

Colorado is also without center Paul Stastny, who isn't playing because of a leg injury that forced him to leave Colorado's previous game this past weekend at the Minnesota Wild.

Nick Holden is shifting with Sarich's regular defense partner, who briefly left the game in the first period after being hobbled by a hard slap shot by Brent Seabrook.