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NHL Preview from The Sports Network
Tuesday, January 14th (All times Eastern)
Colorado Avalanche (28-12-5) at Chicago Blackhawks (30-8-10), 8 p.m.
(SportsNetwork.com) - The Chicago Blackhawks were able to laugh off Patrick Kane's own-goal blunder in a victory on Sunday, but the forward's goal drought is earning fewer laughs.
Kane looks to get going on Tuesday night as the Blackhawks host the Colorado Avalanche.
The 25-year-old is tied for second in the NHL with 56 points, including 23 goals, but has not lit the lamp in seven straight games. He did, however, put the puck into the net in Sunday's 5-3 win over the Edmonton Oilers, but it happened to be his own.
With netminder Antti Raanta off the ice for an extra attacker on a delayed penalty, Kane sent the puck up the boards to the point, but no Chicago player was there. Instead, the disc rolled all the way down the ice and into the open cage, giving the Oilers a game-tying goal with 8:31 left in the second period.
Thankfully for Kane, Marian Hossa scored 31 seconds later on the power play and Jonathan Toews added another goal before the end of the period to put Chicago back in control.
"(I) just thought a point man was there and it seemed to just keep catching speed and went in the net, but it was good that we got it right back," said Kane, who has three assists during his goal drought.
Hossa also added an assist on his 35th birthday and Raanta made 18 saves as Chicago snapped a three-game winless streak (0-1-2) in the opener of a four- game homestand.
Kane has five goals and 14 assists in 23 career games versus the Avalanche, with two assists in two meetings this season.
The clubs have split those games, with the Avalanche winning 5-1 at home on Nov. 19 and the Blackhawks picking up a 7-2 victory in Chicago on Dec. 27.
The 'Hawks have won two straight and five of their last eight at home in this series. Patrick Sharp scored a hat trick to go along with an assist in the previous win, Toews added two goals and a pair of helpers and Raanta made 18 saves.
Colorado's Jean-Sebastien Giguere allowed seven goals on 24 shots through two periods, while Semyon Varlamov stopped 13 shots in relief.
The Avalanche picked up a victory in their last trip to the ice, knocking off the Minnesota Wild 4-2 on Saturday. Colorado was hitting the road following a 4-1-2 homestand and got a pair of goals from Ryan O'Reilly in his return to the lineup.
O'Reilly, whose 16 markers are tied with Matt Duchene for the team lead, had missed two straight games with a bruised shoulder and netted the go-ahead tally with 7:16 left in the third period.
The Colorado forward stole the puck from Minnesota defenseman Ryan Suter near center ice and gave it to Duchene, who sent it back to O'Reilly before the latter fired home a backhander.
"(Duchene) made a great pass to me there, gave me enough time to do something with it," said O'Reilly of the goal.
Maxime Talbot added an empty-net goal with 1:10 left to go along with an assist. Gabriel Landeskog lit the lamp as well to support a 25-save effort from Varlamov.
Colorado did lose Paul Stastny to a leg injury in the second period and the forward is questionable for tonight after missing practice on Monday, but defenseman Tyson Barrie may play after missing Saturday's win with a bruised shoulder.
Varlamov is 4-3-0 with a 2.30 goals against average in eight previous meetings with Chicago, all but one of those starts. He should get the start tonight and be backed up by Sami Aittokallio, who was recalled from the minors with Giguere battling back spasms.
Corey Crawford could earn the start tonight for the Blackhawks, but lasted just 13 minutes in the loss at Denver back in November. He yielded three goals on seven shots before Raanta relieved him to make his NHL debut.
Crawford is 2-5-1 with a 3.49 GAA lifetime versus Colorado.
01/14 10:48:19 ET
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