Chicago at Colorado
When: 9:00 PM
ET, Tuesday, January 17, 2017
Where: Pepsi Center, Denver, Colorado
The Chicago Blackhawks lost their grasp on first place in the Central Division after losing consecutive contests to two of the best teams in the NHL. The Blackhawks look to regain their composure on Tuesday when they pay a visit to the owner of the league's lowest point total in the Colorado Avalanche.
"(It's) good way to kind of judge yourself, where we're at. Might be a little bit of a wakeup call to see how good we really are," said Patrick Kane, who scored twice on a season-high 12 shots in Chicago's 3-2 setback to white-hot Minnesota on Sunday to increase his point total to 10 (three goals, seven assists) in his past six games. Kane's 47 points are three behind Edmonton's Connor McDavid for the league lead, although the reigning Hart Trophy winner has notched just one - an assist - in a pair of outings this season against cellar-dwelling Colorado. The Blackhawks split those contests against the Avalanche, who have dropped 10 of 12 overall and 12 of their last 13 at home. The latest knockout blow came on Saturday as rugged enforcer Cody McLeod - who was traded to Nashville on Friday - scored shortly after a video tribute in his honor to lead the Predators to a 3-2 triumph.
TV: 9 p.m. ET, NHL.TV, NBCSN, CSN Chicago
ABOUT THE BLACKHAWKS (27-14-5): Captain Jonathan Toews admitted last week that it was "bittersweet" to be named to the upcoming All-Star game ahead of teammates Artemi Panarin (team-leading 18 goals), Artem Anisimov (17 goals, 43 points) and Marian Hossa (16 goals). Toews has just seven goals and 21 points to reside below all three of those forwards on the season stat sheet, although the 28-year-old scored in Chicago's 4-0 victory over Colorado on Nov. 3 as well as a 2-1 overtime loss to the Avalanche on Dec. 23. Speaking of Hossa, the veteran tallied twice in the initial meeting with Colorado but as been held without a tally in each of his last nine games.
ABOUT THE AVALANCHE (13-27-1): Nathan MacKinnon (team-leading 28 points) is Colorado's lone NHL All-Star and likely one of the few who isn't being considered to be swapped at the trade deadline, but that doesn't mean the former top overall pick is receiving a free pass. MacKinnon admitted to the Denver Post that he was benched for several shifts in the second period of Saturday's game because he "wasn't playing that good and just needed to sit down for a bit and regroup." MacKinnon has been held off the scoresheet in five of his last seven contests on the heels of back-to-back two-point performances, with one coming at Chicago last month.
1. Chicago G Corey Crawford has turned aside 70 of 72 shots versus Colorado this season.
2. The Avalanche are just 2-for-41 on the power play in the last 11 games and 0-for-4 versus the Blackhawks this season.
3. Colorado G Semyon Varlamov has yielded three goals in back-to-back contests since returning from a seven-game injury absence.
PREDICTION: Blackhawks 5, Avalanche 1
Stats and Records