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NHL Preview from The Sports Network
Monday, March 18th (All times Eastern)
Chicago Blackhawks (23-2-3) at Colorado Avalanche (10-13-4), 9 p.m.
(Sports Network) - The Chicago Blackhawks had a pair of record-setting streaks end in their last trip to Denver. They'll look to keep their latest string of victories going on Monday evening in a rematch with the struggling Colorado Avalanche.
Following a 3-2 home victory over the Avalanche on March 6, the Blackhawks took a club-record 11-game winning streak into the finale of a home-and-home set two days later. Chicago also brought with it a 21-0-3 record, the longest point streak in NHL history to begin a season.
However, both streaks came to an end in that second meeting as Colorado used a four-goal second period to roll to a 6-2 victory. It was the Avalanche's fourth win in the past five meetings and they have also taken seven of the last 10 encounters with the Blackhawks.
Matt Duchene had a goal and three assists, while P.A. Parenteau and Paul Stastny both added three-point nights with a goal and two assists as the Avs dealt the Blackhawks their sixth victory in their past eight trips to Denver.
Semyon Varlamov made 31 saves, while Corey Crawford was roughed up for five goals on 19 shots in 40 minutes of work before being lifted in favor of Ray Emery.
Chicago followed that setback with another regulation defeat against the Edmonton Oilers on March 10, but have since rebounded with a shootout win at Columbus before an 8-1 road rout of the Dallas Stars on Saturday.
The Blackhawks scored the first seven goals of the game, with captain Jonathan Toews scoring twice in a 1:35 span in the first and Marian Hossa netting a pair of second-period goals. Toews also had an assist, while Patrick Kane had a goal and two helpers.
The Stars made it fairly easy for Crawford, testing him with just 19 shots.
"Corey did a good job of staying in there but the defense played great and we did a great job of holding on to the puck," Kane said.
Chicago's victory has it 15 points up on St. Louis for first place in the Central Division and five ahead of Anaheim for the top spot in the Western Conference.
The Avs, meanwhile, are last in the conference with 24 points, six back of a playoff spot. They have lost three straight, including a sweep at the hands of the Minnesota Wild in a home-and-home set.
After losing 5-3 in Minnesota on Thursday, Colorado fell behind early and dropped a 6-4 home decision Saturday. The Avs trailed 3-0 and gave up four goals in the opening period before pulling to within one in the second on goals from Parenteau and Gabriel Landeskog.
"It needs to be addressed," Parenteau said of his team's slow start. "I just do not have an answer for that. If I did we would have been able to solve it."
Landeskog added an assist, while Chuck Kobasew and John Mitchell also lit the lamp for Colorado. Jean-Sebastien Giguere gave up four goals on 14 shots in the first period before being replaced by Varlamov, who stopped 12-of-14 shots over the final two periods.
Duchene had a pair of assists and has 10 points (4 goals, 6 assists) over his past five games.
03/18 10:45:33 ET