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Preview: Blackhawks at Avalanche

Chicago juggling lines; Semyon Varlamov in goal again for Colorado

by Rick Sadowski / Correspondent

BLACKHAWKS (27-14-5) at AVALANCHE (13-27-1)



Blackhawks team scope

Chicago Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville is shaking up the lines, replacing right wing Marian Hossa with Richard Panik on a line with center Jonathan Toews. Hossa, who has gone nine games without a goal, will skate with left wing Vinnie Hinostroza and center Tanner Kero. The Blackhawks have lost two straight games, 6-0 against the Washington Capitals on Friday and 3-2 to the Minnesota Wild on Sunday. "You have to get the message," said Toews, who has one goal in the past eight games. "I think everyone can compete hard, at least a little bit harder than we have the last few games. Sometimes as you go through little spurts, if you're not playing with the most energy or firing on all cylinders, you just have to play smart and still create but also limit the chances you give up. When you have two games like we just did, we want to bounce back and find that energy and excitement." Quenneville said he is seeking a more balanced attack. "If we can get some offense across the board that we're looking for, that's a part of it," he said. "Certainly we're going to need some different kind of guys producing for us offensively, not just up front. Our back end could help generate more offense for us." Goalie Corey Crawford is expected to make his fifth consecutive start.   


Avalanche team scope

Goalie Semyon Varlamov will make his third consecutive start for the Colorado Avalanche, who are 1-2-0 in the first three games of a four-game homestand, 1-11-1 in the past 13 home games and 2-10-0 in 12 overall. Varlamov has allowed 13 goals in a four-game losing streak (0-4-0). He had 29 saves in a 3-2 loss to the Nashville Predators on Saturday. The Avalanche had a pregame meeting Tuesday and an optional morning skate. "We had an opportunity to practice for two good days, so we're trying in the second half [of the season] to make sure we're getting a lot of work done in practice and giving them the option in the morning and making sure they're doing what they feel they need to do to get ready for the game," coach Jared Bednar said. The Avalanche are 3-for-53 on the power play the past 14 games. "When you're struggling and you're getting power-play opportunities, it can be a big catapult for you to win some games when you get the big goals," defenseman Tyson Barrie said. "We've got a unit that we're hopefully going to leave together here and let us try and sort it out."   


Blackhawks projected lineup

Ryan Hartman -- Jonathan Toews -- Richard Panik

Artemi Panarin - Artem Anisimov -- Patrick Kane

Vinnie Hinostroza -- Tanner Kero -- Marian Hossa

Andrew Desjardins -- Dennis Rasmussen -- Nick Schmaltz

Duncan Keith -- Niklas Hjalmarsson

Trevor van Riemsdyk -- Brent Seabrook

Michal Kempny -- Michal Rozsival

Corey Crawford

Scott Darling

Scratched: Brian Campbell, Jordin Tootoo

Injured: Marcus Kruger (hand)


Avalanche projected lineup

Mikko Rantanen -- Nathan MacKinnon -- Rene Bourque

Gabriel Landeskog -- Matt Duchene -- Matt Nieto

Blake Comeau -- Carl Soderberg -- Jarome Iginla

Mikhail Grigorenko -- John Mitchell -- Joe Colborne

Fedor Tyutin -- Tyson Barrie

Nikita Zadorov -- Cody Goloubef

Francois Beauchemin - Eric Gelinas

Semyon Varlamov

Calvin Pickard

Scratched: Andreas Martinsen, Patrick Wiercioch

Injured: Erik Johnson (broken fibula)


Status report

Kruger isn't on the Blackhawks' two-game trip, but Quenneville said he expected him to skate in Chicago on Tuesday. "We'll see how he is at the end of the week," Quenneville said. ... Mitchell will center the fourth line after being a healthy scratch two games in a row.


Who's hot

Kane has three goals and seven assists in the past six games. Hartman has four goals and two assists in the past six games. Keith has two goals and 11 assists in 15 games. Panarin has two goals and two assists in the past five games. ... MacKinnon has two goals and one assist in the past three games. Landeskog has two goals in three games.

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