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Kane tries to extend point streak to 20 games for Chicago; Varlamov in goal for Colorado

by Scott King / Correspondent

AVALANCHE (25-24-11) at BLACKHAWKS (26-26-9)



The Game

Patrick Kane will try to extend the longest point streak in the NHL this season to 20 games when the Chicago Blackhawks play the Colorado Avalanche at United Center on Friday.

Kane has 42 points (16 goals, 26 assists) during his 19-game streak. He scored two goals, including the overtime winner, in Chicago's 5-4 victory at the Detroit Red Wings on Wednesday.

Chicago, which is 10-2-0 in its past 12 games after a five-game losing streak (0-3-2), has won back-to-back games and scored at least four goals in nine of its past 12.

The Blackhawks are tied in points (61) with the Avalanche and the Arizona Coyotes; all three teams are one point behind the Minnesota Wild for the second wild card into the Stanley Cup Playoffs from the Western Conference.

Colorado has won its past two games and is 3-1-0 after an eight-game losing streak (0-5-3).


Players to watch

Avalanche goalie Semyon Varlamov is 3-1-0 with a 1.01 goals-against average, a save percentage of .968 and one shutout in his past four starts.

Blackhawks forward Alex DeBrincat has seven points (four goals, three assists) in a three-game point streak and 23 points (10 goals, 13 assists) in his past 13 games.


They said it

"They've been playing a lot better; they shut out Vegas and only gave up one (goal) to Winnipeg, so obviously the defensive structure seems like it's better. You just look at the lineup and it seems like all four lines are capable of bringing something to the table. Dangerous team tonight." -- Blackhawks forward Patrick Kane

"The biggest thing is they're playing with a lot of confidence in their scoring. They're a dangerous, dangerous team on the offensive side of the puck. Their stars are playing real well and they're contributing in a big way every night, so they can be a lot to handle. We have to be ready to check tonight as well as we've checked all year." -- Avalanche coach Jared Bednar on facing Blackhawks


Avalanche projected lineup

Alexander Kerfoot -- Nathan MacKinnon -- Sven Andrighetto

Matt Nieto -- Carl Soderberg -- Mikko Rantanen

Gabriel Landeskog -- Tyson Jost -- Matt Calvert

A.J. Greer -- Andrew Agozzino -- J.T. Compher

Samuel Girard -- Erik Johnson

Patrik Nemeth -- Tyson Barrie

Ryan Graves -- Nikita Zadorov

Semyon Varlamov

Philipp Grubauer

Scratched: Mark Barberio, Gabriel Bourque

Injured: Ian Cole (upper body), Vladislav Kamenev (shoulder), Colin Wilson (upper body)


Blackhawks projected lineup

Drake Caggiula -- Jonathan Toews -- Patrick Kane

Alex DeBrincat -- Dylan Strome -- Dominik Kahun

Brandon Saad -- Artem Anisimov -- Dylan Sikura

Brendan Perlini -- Marcus Kruger -- John Hayden

Duncan Keith -- Connor Murphy

Slater Koekkoek -- Erik Gustafsson

Gustav Forsling -- Carl Dahlstrom

Collin Delia

Cam Ward

Scratched: Chris Kunitz, Henri Jokiharju

Injured: Brent Seabrook (abdominal strain), Corey Crawford (concussion), David Kampf (right foot)


Status report

Seabrook participated in the morning skate but will miss his third straight game. … Dahlstrom missed the morning skate and is questionable with flu-like symptoms. The Blackhawks recalled Jokiharju from Rockford of the American Hockey League.


Stat pack

Rantanen needs one point for 200 in the NHL. Landeskog has four points (two goals, two assists) in his past four games. … Toews has five points (three goals, two assists) in a four-game point streak and 19 points (10 goals, nine assists) in his past 12 games. Gustafsson has 11 points (four goals, seven assists) in his past 10 games.

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