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Kane's streak ends at 26; Avalanche top Blackhawks

by Brian Hedger

CHICAGO -- Patrick Kane's point streak ended at 26 games, and Colorado Avalanche goalie Semyon Varlamov made 29 saves in a 3-0 win against the Chicago Blackhawks at United Center on Tuesday.

Kane played 23:11, had no shots on goal and his three attempts were blocked. The Blackhawks (17-11-4) went 15-7-4 during his streak, which is the longest by an American-born player and longest in Blackhawks history.

"It was a good run," Kane said. "[I] didn't have it tonight, so you know, I can just focus on playing hockey, and it'll be nice not to talk about it anymore. When you have to talk about it every day, it gets a little taxing, but I'm excited just to play hockey now."

Kane on Sunday passed Sidney Crosby of the Pittsburgh Penguins for the longest streak by an active NHL player; he fell short of the 30-game streak by Mats Sundin of the Quebec Nordiques in 1992-93.

"I don't think we thought about [ending] it until the end," said Avalanche forward Matt Duchene, whose 16th goal opened the scoring at 14:30 of the first period. "When he was on the ice there at the end, we were kind of like, 'OK, it'd be a nice little feather in our cap to end it.' Our biggest goal was to win tonight. [Varlamov] was outstanding, and we got some big games from some guys, so it was great."

Varlamov is 8-0-0 with a 1.19 goals-against average and .968 save percentage against the Blackhawks since 2013-14, and 11-3-0 with three shutouts in 15 career appearances against them.

"My secret? I don't have any secrets," Varlamov said. "It's all about my teammates. They play well in front of me every time we're here in Chicago. No secrets. I like to play here in this building, and [this] was a big game for us."

Defenseman Zach Redmond scored early in the second period for the Avalanche (15-16-1), and Gabriel Landeskog had an empty-net goal and an assist.

The Avalanche are 7-2-0 against Central Division opponents and swept a three-game road trip against divisional foes. They are 11-9-0 on the road and won for the fifth time in their past six games away from Pepsi Center.

Coming into the game, the Avalanche were determined to play better defensively after allowing 43 shots on goal in a 3-1 win at the St. Louis Blues on Sunday.

"I think we all felt after the St. Louis game that wasn't good enough and we knew that we stole that one," Landeskog said. "Anytime you get outshot like that and a team dominates you like that, you definitely have a feel of urgency and you want to bounce back."

Corey Crawford made 24 saves for Chicago, which had won its past two games and four of five. Crawford, who had shutouts in his previous two games, is 4-9-2 in 15 appearances against Colorado with a 3.02 GAA and .883 save percentage.

The Avalanche's puck-possession game was a bigger source of concern for the Blackhawks, who had a difficult time getting through the neutral zone most of the game.

"It wasn't our best game," Chicago defenseman Duncan Keith said. "They have a good skating team, a good team. It was a big two points on the line, and that's what we're disappointed about. It was a [Central Division] game. We need to be better and regroup now."

Duchene's shot from the left circle hit a stick and deflected over Crawford's shoulder into the net, ending the Chicago goalie's shutout streak at 155:16. Landeskog and Nathan MacKinnon assisted.

A lineup decision by Avalanche coach Patrick Roy resulted in the game's second goal. Redmond, who was scratched the previous six games, made it 2-0 at 1:43 of the second when he scored his first goal in 25 games, dating to March 8.

Chicago outshot Colorado 13-9 in the second, but Varlamov made saves on quality scoring chances by Bryan Bickell and Teuvo Teravainen to preserve the Avalanche's lead.

Kane had 16 goals and 24 assists during his streak, which began with an empty-net goal Oct. 17 against the Columbus Blue Jackets, Chicago's sixth game of the season. He has scored a point in 29 of 32 games.

Kane kept the streak alive with an empty-net assist in Game 22, an empty-net goal in Game 23, and a third-period goal in Game 24.

Wayne Gretzky holds the NHL record with a 51-game streak for the Edmonton Oilers that started the 1983-84 season. There are 10 streaks of at least 28 games in NHL history.

"Amazing streak," Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville said. "I commend him on the consistency and the preparation. The fact that he was able to sustain it for this length of time was amazing."

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