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Avalanche at Blackhawks preview

Chicago forward Kane tries for 14-game point streak; Francouz in goal for Colorado

by Rick Sadowski / Independent Correspondent

AVALANCHE (14-8-2) at BLACKHAWKS (10-9-5)



The Game

Patrick Kane will try to extend his point streak to 14 games when the Chicago Blackhawks host the Colorado Avalanche at the United Center on Friday.

It is the first of a home-and-home series for the Blackhawks and Avalanche that will conclude at Pepsi Center on Saturday.

Kane has 22 points (nine goals, 13 assists) during his 13-game streak for Chicago, which defeated the Dallas Stars 3-0 on Tuesday to end a three-game winless streak (0-2-1). The Blackhawks had been 5-0-1 in their previous six games.

Avalanche forward Andre Burakovsky is day to day with an upper-body injury and won't play. He was injured in the second period Wednesday in Colorado's 4-1 win against the Edmonton Oilers that ended a two-game losing streak.


Players to watch

Avalanche forward Nathan MacKinnon has 13 points (six goals, seven assists) in his past seven games.

Blackhawks forward Brandon Saad has nine points (four goals, five assists) in his past 11 games.


They said it

"I've never been on a team where it's like this (with injuries). That's kind of been what we've been dealing with for the last month or so. We're just finding ways to win, and everyone is finding ways to contribute." -- Avalanche forward Matt Nieto

"Obviously we didn't have the start we wanted, but we put together a good stretch in November and climbed back in the (Stanley Cup Playoff) race. The challenge now is, can we stick our nose above the pile and get on the right side of it? We don't want to be chasing." -- Blackhawks coach Jeremy Colliton


Avalanche projected lineup

Matt Nieto -- Nathan MacKinnon -- Joonas Donskoi

Tyson Jost -- Nazem Kadri -- J.T. Compher

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

Sheldon Dries -- Vladislav Kamenev -- T.J. Tynan

Nikita Zadorov -- Cale Makar

Calle Rosen -- Samuel Girard

Ryan Graves -- Ian Cole

Pavel Francouz

Philipp Grubauer

Scratched: Mark Barberio, A.J. Greer

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


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 -- Matthew Highmore

Duncan Keith -- Erik Gustafsson

Calvin de Haan -- Brent Seabrook

Olli Maatta -- Connor Murphy

Robin Lehner

Corey Crawford

Scratched: Slater Koekkoek, Anton Wedin

Injured: Drake Caggiula (concussion protocol), Dylan Strome (concussion protocol)


Status report

Rantanen is expected to play Saturday for the first time since he was injured Oct. 21 against the St. Louis Blues. The Avalanche recalled Dries and Greer from Colorado of the American Hockey League. … The Blackhawks transferred Caggiula to long-term injured reserve retroactive to Nov. 10 and recalled Wedin from Rockford of the AHL.


Stat pack

Donskoi has 10 points (four goals, six assists) in his past nine games. … Keith needs one goal for 100 in the NHL. … Dach has seven points (four goals, three assists) in his past eight games.

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