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game recap

Panarin scores in Blackhawks win against Avalanche

Two first-period goals 4:19 apart for Chicago hold up against Colorado

by Rick Sadowski / Correspondent

Panarin nets pretty backhand

CHI@COL: Panarin backhands pretty goal past Pickard

2/2/16: Artemi Panarin streaks into the slot and backhands the puck past Calvin Pickard, giving the Blackhawks a 2-0 lead early in the 1st

  • 00:43 •

DENVER -- The Chicago Blackhawks scored two first-period goals and goalie Corey Crawford made 22 saves in a 2-1 win against the Colorado Avalanche at Pepsi Center on Tuesday. 

The Blackhawks played without captain Jonathan Toews, who missed the NHL All-Star Game because of illness and served a one-game suspension. 

Forwards Richard Panik and Artemi Panarin scored for the Blackhawks (34-16-4), who went 3-1-0 against the Avalanche this season and maintained their three-point lead over the Dallas Stars in the Central Division. 

Colorado (27-23-3), after winning four straight games, have lost two of their past three. 

Crawford made 15 of his 22 saves in the third period. He made a blocker save against Avalanche forward Matt Duchene with 2:38 remaining and stopped forward Gabriel Landeskog with 58 seconds left after goalie Calvin Pickard went to the bench for a sixth skater. 

Video: CHI@COL: Crawford stops multiple shots from Soderberg

"I thought we dominated," said Crawford, who is 11-2-0 in his past 13 starts. "We played really well, we were moving the puck quick and getting a lot of pucks to the net, really testing (Pickard) out. It's nice to hold onto a tight game." 

Pickard, who stopped 40 shots, made a glove save against Panarin on a clean breakaway with 9:02 remaining in the third period to keep the Blackhawks lead at 2-1. 

Avalanche forwards Chris Wagner and Alex Tanguay were among the Colorado players who pressured Crawford in a scramble in front of the net at 2:28 of the third. Crawford received help in the crease from teammate Andrew Desjardins when the Avalanche jabbed and poked at the puck, producing four shots on goal. 

The Blackhawks had a huge edge in shot-differential through the first two periods. They outshot the Avalanche 14-6 in the first period and 15-2 in the second. 

"We did a lot of good things," Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville said. "'Crow' [Crawford] was good at the end of the game, but I liked our team game. It was a good start. We made a lot of safe plays, were in good position, had the puck a lot. I thought we checked well." 

Blackhawks defenseman Duncan Keith said it was especially gratifying to limit the Avalanche to so few quality scoring chances while playing at that altitude in the first game following the All-Star break. 

"It's kind of a tough building to play in your first game back," Keith said. "It was a good test. They've got a lot of speed and it was a really good team effort from top to bottom. We had good puck possession down in their zone with some good cycles. Our guys were guarding the puck well, protecting the puck. We didn't give them too many odd-man rushes. We had our chances to pull away, but at the end of the day these are the kinds of games we need to play well in and win." 

Offense had been a problem for the Blackhawks in their four previous games when they scored three goals and were shut out twice, including a 5-0 loss to the Carolina Hurricanes on Jan. 26. 

Panik was in the slot when he converted forward Andrew Shaw's pass from the side of the net at 2:57 of the first period for his third goal in nine games. Chicago acquired Panik in a trade with the Toronto Maple Leafs on Jan. 3. 

"I'm very happy, very pleased (with Panik's play)," Quenneville said. "I thought tonight he was really good. He did a lot of good things, (he was) technically aware. Obviously scoring's nice, but I thought he had some jump and I liked his thought process in the game." 

Panarin skated through the goalmouth and took a shot that hit an Avalanche defenseman's stick and bounced by Pickard at 7:16. He has 18 goals this season and leads NHL rookies with 47 points in 54 games. 

"The first one was kind of a broken play," Pickard said. "There was a weird bounce off the boards and (Panik) just whacked at it and it got through me. The second one was off one of our guy's sticks. Those things happen. There were a lot of bodies around the net. It was unfortunate to get down 2-0, but it was nice to hold them to two." 

Landeskog scored from between the circles after receiving a pass from forward Blake Comeau, which cut the Avalanche deficit to 2-1 at 9:59. He has three goals in the past two games and 14 for the season. 

"They could have scored seven or eight times if (Pickard) didn't play so well for us," Avalanche forward Nathan MacKinnon said. "We laid an egg and it's definitely unacceptable this time of the season." 

MacKinnon said the Avalanche couldn't use the All-Star break as an excuse for looking rusty. 

They had the same break, so it was even," MacKinnon said. "We're at home, we should have had the upper hand if anything. We weren't ready to play. It's unfortunate." 

Video: Panarin scores in Blackhawks win against Avalanche

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