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Blackhawks-Avalanche Preview @NHL

Besides a blizzard, only the Chicago Blackhawks have been able to shut down the Colorado Avalanche lately.

The Avalanche (17-15-2) look to avenge their only loss in five games when they meet the Blackhawks (15-14-5) at the Pepsi Center on Saturday.

After its game against Calgary was postponed on Thursday because of a blizzard that dumped up to three feet of snow in parts of the Denver metropolitan area, Colorado returns to home ice trying to continue its offensive surge and climb through the crowded Northwest Division standings.

The Avs are tied with Minnesota for third with 36 points. All five teams in the Northwest are separated by three points.

With a 7-6 win over division-leading Edmonton on Tuesday, the Avalanche have scored at least four goals for the sixth time in their last seven games.

"It was just one of those nights when things found a way to bounce themselves into the net," Avalanche left wing Andrew Brunette said after recording the first hat trick of his 11-season career.

The only team to hold the Avalanche to fewer than four goals in this stretch is Chicago, which posted a 2-1 win at the United Center on Sunday.

Colorado's offensive outburst could be linked to the return of veteran Pierre Turgeon, who has seven points in seven games after missing the 27 with a shoulder injury. Turgeon had a goal and two assists, and rookie Paul Stastny added a career-high four points on a goal and three assists against the Oilers.

The Blackhawks won for the third time in four games with a 3-1 home victory over Toronto on Friday. Peter Bondra's 500th career goal snapped a 1-1 tie, and Nikolai Khabibulin stopped 25 shots.

"I'm happy I can score a big goal and we can win a big game," said Bondra, who joined Toronto's Mats Sundin and Anaheim's Teemu Selanne this season and became the 37th player overall to reach 500 goals. "The guys had talked about 500 for two or three games, but it didn't take the attention away from what we were supposed to accomplish tonight."

Chicago has a winning record for the first time since it was 4-3-0 on Oct. 20. It also is 8-2-3 under coach Denis Savard.

Khabibulin is 8-4-0 with a 2.24 goals-against average in his last 12 starts against the Avalanche, but 9-13-0 with a tie and 2.83 GAA in 23 career appearances against the franchise.

Khabibulin has allowed one goal in six of his 20 starts this season, but does not have a shutout.

The Blackhawks might be short-handed on Saturday. Left wing Karl Stewart did not return after suffering a leg injury in the first period and center Jeff Hamilton sat out with the flu on Friday.

After Friday's game, Chicago recalled forward Troy Brouwer from Norfolk of the AHL.

Martin Havlat, who has five goals and five assists in eight games since returning from a 19-game absence because of a sprained right ankle, played Friday despite sitting out the previous day's practice with the flu. He didn't record a point, but has three assists in Chicago's two wins over Colorado this season.

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