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Preview: Avalanche at Blackhawks

Chicago tries for fourth straight win, Colorado has lost four of six

by Brian Hedger / Correspondent

AVALANCHE (4-4-0) at BLACKHAWKS (6-3-1)

8:30 p.m. ET; CSN-CH, ALT, NHL.TV


Avalanche team scope

The Colorado Avalanche hope goaltender Semyon Varlamov's career success against the Chicago Blackhawks will continue Thursday. Varlamov, who started in a 5-1 home loss to the Nashville Predators on Tuesday, is 11-4-1 with a 2.12 goals-against average and .940 save percentage in 17 career appearances against Chicago. The Avalanche have lost four of their past six games, and there was a team meeting after the loss to Nashville to address some issues. "We need our guys to work and compete at a level that can give us a chance to win," coach Jared Bednar said after the morning skate at United Center. "That's not just short-term response tonight, but long-term. We've got to find a way to have a better start. We've only scored first in two of our eight games. First periods, finding our game right away and getting physical and playing with that passion and energy, that's where it all starts for us." Defenseman Fedor Tyutin will replace Eric Gelinas after missing four games with a groin injury. Gelinas will be a healthy scratch.


Blackhawks team scope

The Blackhawks are looking for their fourth straight win and are 6-1-1 since losing their first two games. Center Artem Anisimov, who is tied for the NHL lead in goals (7) and scoring (13 points), will try to extend his goal streak to four games and point streak to a career-high nine. Right wing Patrick Kane, who's playing on the top line with captain Jonathan Toews, is a point behind Anisimov with five goals and seven assists through 10 games, including a goal and two assists in Chicago's 5-1 win against the Calgary Flames at United Center on Tuesday. The Blackhawks are 5-1-1 in Chicago, with four more home games left before their annual "Circus Trip" to Western Canada and California from Nov. 15-26. "I know we've had a lot of games here at home, and you do like to take advantage of those," defenseman Brian Campbell said Thursday. "There's a lot of tests along the season, but we're making good progress and we're heading upwards." The Blackhawks are ranked 30th in the NHL in penalty-killing (58.3 percent), but haven't allowed a goal in their past nine shorthanded situations. Goalie Corey Crawford will make his fifth straight start.


Avalanche projected lineup

Gabriel Landeskog -- Matt Duchene -- Jarome Iginla

Mikhail Grigorenko -- Nathan MacKinnon -- Mikko Rantanen

Rene Bourque -- Carl Soderberg -- Blake Comeau

Andreas Martinsen -- John Mitchell -- Joe Colborne

Nikita Zadorov - Erik Johnson

Patrick Wiercioch - Fedor Tyutin

Francois Beauchemin - Tyson Barrie

Semyon Varlamov

Calvin Pickard

Scratched: Eric Gelinas, Cody McLeod

Injured: None


Blackhawks projected lineup

Richard Panik -- Jonathan Toews -- Patrick Kane

Artemi Panarin -- Artem Anisimov -- Marian Hossa

Tyler Motte -- Marcus Kruger - Ryan Hartman

Dennis Rasmussen -- Nick Schmaltz -- Jordin Tootoo

Duncan Keith -- Brian Campbell

Gustav Forsling -- Niklas Hjalmarsson

Michal Kempny -- Brent Seabrook

Corey Crawford

Scott Darling

Scratched: Vinnie Hinostroza

Injured: Trevor van Riemsdyk (upper body), Andrew Desjardins (lower body)


Status report

McLeod will be scratched for the fourth straight game. … Hartman skated on the third line during line rushes at the Blackhawks' morning skate, but was the last player off the ice. That usually indicates a player will be healthy scratch. Kempny and Rozsival were the last two defensemen off the ice, but Kempny will play. If Hartman and Hinostroza are scratched, Chicago will dress seven defensemen, which coach Joel Quenneville has already done once this season.


Who's hot

Duchene has points in Colorado's past two games (two goals and one assist). … Crawford faced 26 shots and didn't allow a goal during 5-on-5 play against the Flames. His 5-on-5 save percentage is .979 (185 saves on 189 shots).

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