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Kane can extend point streak to 15; Rantanen expected to return for Colorado

by Rick Sadowski / Independent Correspondent

BLACKHAWKS (10-10-5) at AVALANCHE (15-8-2)



The Game

Mikko Rantanen is expected to return to the lineup when the Colorado Avalanche host the Chicago Blackhawks at Pepsi Center on Saturday.

The forward has missed 16 games with a lower-body injury sustained against the St. Louis Blues on Oct. 21. Colorado has gone 8-7-1 without Rantanen, who has 12 points (five goals, seven assists) in nine games.

Blackhawks forward Patrick Kane will try to extend his point streak to 15 games. He had a goal in a 5-2 loss to Colorado at United Center on Friday and has 23 points (10 goals, 13 assists) in a 14-game streak, the longest in the NHL this season.

Robin Lehner is expected to start for the Blackhawks, who are 1-3-1 in their past five games after going 5-0-1 in their previous six.

Philipp Grubauer is expected to start for the Avalanche, who have won two straight games and are 7-3-0 in their past 10.


Players to watch

Blackhawks forward Brandon Saad has 10 points (four goals, six assists) in his past 12 games.

Avalanche forward Nathan MacKinnon has 13 points (five goals, eight assists) in a six-game point streak.


They said it

"They'll be even better in their own building, so it's going to be a tough game. We've played well on the road as of late. I think we can take that same mentality, that same approach in Colorado." -- Blackhawks center Jonathan Toews

"It's exciting, especially for our power play. We need him, it's been tough. It's exciting to get one of the best players in the world back on our team. I think people forget that we're missing 200 points out of our lineup from last season." -- Avalanche center Nathan MacKinnon, on Mikko Rantanen's expected return


Blackhawks projected lineup

Brandon Saad -- Jonathan Toews -- Alex Nylander

Alex DeBrincat -- Kirby Dach -- Patrick Kane

Dominik Kubalik -- David Kampf -- Andrew Shaw

Zack Smith -- Ryan Carpenter -- Anton Wedin

Calvin de Haan -- Erik Gustafsson

Olli Maatta -- Brent Seabrook

Slater Koekkoek -- Connor Murphy

Robin Lehner

Corey Crawford

Scratched: Ian McCoshen

Injured: Drake Caggiula (concussion protocol), Duncan Keith (groin), Dylan Strome (concussion protocol)


Avalanche projected lineup

Joonas Donskoi -- Nathan MacKinnon -- Mikko Rantanen

Matt Nieto -- Nazem Kadri -- J.T. Compher

Valeri Nichushkin -- Pierre-Edouard Bellemare -- Logan O'Connor

Tyson Jost -- Vladislav Kamenev -- T.J. Tynan

Nikita Zadorov -- Cale Makar

Calle Rosen -- Samuel Girard

Ryan Graves -- Ian Cole

Philipp Grubauer

Pavel Francouz

Scratched: Mark Barberio

Injured: Andre Burakovsky (upper body), Matt Calvert (head), Erik Johnson (lower body), Gabriel Landeskog (lower body), Colin Wilson (lower body)

Status report

Keith was injured against Colorado on Friday. There is no timetable for his return. … The Blackhawks recalled McCoshen from Rockford of the American Hockey League and reassigned forward Matthew Highmore. … Calvert and Landeskog skated with skills coach Shawn Allard in the morning. … The Avalanche reassigned forward Sheldon Dries to Colorado of the AHL.


Stat pack

Murphy will play his 400th NHL game. … Makar has 26 points (eight goals, 18 assists), the most by a defenseman in his first 25 NHL games since Larry Murphy had 28 for the Los Angeles Kings in 1980-81.

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