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game recap

Avalanche move into second wild card in West, defeat Blackhawks

Chicago loses third straight, fails to gain ground

by Rick Sadowski / NHL.com Correspondent

Andrighetto scores on deflection

CHI@COL: Andrighetto deflects home Johnson's shot

Sven Andrighetto battles for position and redirects Erik Johnson's shot past Corey Crawford, giving the Avalanche a 3-1 lead in the 3rd

  • 00:49 •

DENVER -- The Colorado Avalanche moved into the second wild card into the Stanley Cup Playoffs from the Western Conference with a 4-2 win against the Chicago Blackhawks at Pepsi Center on Saturday.

Philipp Grubauer made 29 saves for the Avalanche (34-29-12), who have won four straight games and are one point ahead of the Minnesota Wild and Arizona Coyotes.

"It was a good game, but I'm not really satisfied with how I played today," Grubauer said. "We got the two points and that's all that matters. The game is in the past now and we got to move on to the next one. Tomorrow (in Chicago) is going to be equally as important as today. We need the two points."

 

[WATCH: All Blackhawks vs. Avalanche highlights]

 

The Blackhawks (32-32-10) have lost three straight games and are six points behind Colorado for the second wild card. Erik Gustafsson and Jonathan Toews scored, and Corey Crawford made 21 saves for Chicago.

"From here on in, every game is a must win," Blackhawks defenseman Duncan Keith said. "We have to have our best game of the year going forward."

The Avalanche took a 1-0 lead at 3:07 of the second period on a goal by J.T. Compher. He was in the slot when he deflected in Patrik Nemeth's shot from the blue line.

Video: CHI@COL: Compher starts the scoring on nice redirect

"We need everybody stepping up in these big games," Compher said. "We've checked well and because we are playing such good defense, it's leading to offense. Most of this group went through the same thing last year. We were fighting for a playoff spot for the last month or two. We know what it takes and this past week we've been putting together games that are good enough to get wins."

Toews tied it 1-1 at 5:20 after a turnover by Nikita Zadorov behind the net.

Video: CHI@COL: Toews beats Grubauer after turnover

Colorado went ahead 2-1 at 13:57 when Colin Wilson scored on a 5-on-3 power play off a pass from Alexander Kerfoot, who was at the base of the left face-off circle.

"It's a 5-on-3 so there's a lot of room out there," said Kerfoot, who had two assists. "We had a couple really good looks before that. He was open in front of the net and I tried to just feather it in there and he made a good play to finish it."

Sven Andrighetto scored to make it 3-1 at 1:26 of the third period on a deflection of Erik Johnson's shot.

"A couple quick shots from Nemeth and Johnson, and then guys were just getting in the goalie's eyes and trying to get tips, screens, rebounds," Avalanche coach Jared Bednar said. "It gets us two goals and we get a 5-on-3 goal as well, so it's a recipe for success and we got to keep fighting to get there. That's where most goals are scored, from the front of the net, and we got a few like that today."

The Blackhawks pulled to within 3-2 at 12:04 when Gustafsson scored from inside the blue line.

Derick Brassard scored an empty-net goal with 2:20 remaining to give Colorado a 4-2 lead.

Video: CHI@COL: Brassard seals win with empty-netter

"We played pretty solid for the most part," Crawford said. "It's still not good enough. We've got to bring a little bit more. But I thought we were actually not too bad. Had a chance late and lose it right there as we're getting another guy on the ice. It was a pretty close game."

 

They said it

"I thought we could've gotten to the net more. They scored goals by being at the net. Being at the net, pucks go in. It's hard to score those because you have to pay a price to be there, but it's easy because everyone can do it. They got a couple that way. We didn't generate enough offensively, so that's frustrating." -- Blackhawks coach Jeremy Colliton

"We're playing really well right now and this is the time when you want to be doing that. We know that these next couple games are going to be huge down the stretch. The other teams we're fighting against are winning too, so it's going to be tough, but we like how we're playing right now." -- Avalanche forward Alexander Kerfoot

 

Need to know

Grubauer has won his past four starts and is 6-2-0 in his past nine games (eight starts) with three shutouts, a 1.28 goals-against average and a .968 save percentage. … Wilson has four points (one goal, three assists) in a three-game point streak. … The Blackhawks were 0-for-3 on the power play and are 1-for-24 in their past 10 games. … Gustafsson has a three-game goal streak. ... Avalanche forward Mikko Rantanen (upper body) missed his first game of the season and won't play Sunday. Bednar said he is day to day.

 

What's next

Blackhawks: Host the Colorado Avalanche on Sunday (8 p.m. ET, NBCSN, NHL.TV)

Avalanche: At the Chicago Blackhawks on Sunday (8 p.m. ET, NBCSN, NHL.TV)

Video: Avalanche beat Blackhawks for fourth straight win

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