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Preview: Avalanche at Blackhawks

Preview: Avalanche at BlackhawksThe official game preview Colorado Avalanche vs Chicago Blackhawks.

Avalanche team scope

The Colorado Avalanche are looking to split a two-game road trip that began with a 5-1 loss at the Detroit Red Wings on Saturday. The Avalanche are 3-3-0 in their past six games, but went 2-11-1 in their previous 14. "This is a really tough way to finish a season," forward John Mitchell told the Denver Post on Saturday. "We're a proud group of guys, and it isn't fun to be in this situation. We just have to finish as well as we can, and get ready for next season." Colorado, which got forward Matt Nieto back from a knee injury in Detroit, didn't hold a morning skate. It's unclear which goalie will start. Calvin Pickard allowed five goals on 23 shots against the Red Wings, including four in the third period, during his fifth straight start. Jeremy Smith, who's 1-4-0 in six appearances, hasn't started since allowing three goals in a 3-0 loss against the St. Louis Blues at Pepsi Center on March 5.
 
Blackhawks team scope

The Chicago Blackhawks can clinch their ninth consecutive Stanley Cup Playoff berth depending on the outcome of the Los Angeles Kings' game at the Calgary Flames (9:30 p.m. ET, SN1, SNW, FS-W, NHL.TV). The Blackhawks will get in with a regulation or overtime win against Colorado plus any kind of Kings loss or shootout win. Chicago can also clinch with a shootout win and a Kings loss or by earning one point and the Kings losing in regulation. The Blackhawks, who played without right wing Marian Hossa (lower body) in a 2-1 overtime win at the Toronto Maple Leafs on Saturday, hope to extend their five-point lead over the Minnesota Wild in the Central Division and Western Conference. The Wild, who've lost four in a row, have a game in hand and play at the Winnipeg Jets on Sunday (5 p.m. ET, TSN3, FS-N, FS-WI, NHL.TV). "We've continued to stay hot and play well every night, and they've lost a few now," rookie forward Ryan Hartman told the Blackhawks website after scoring in overtime to defeat Toronto on Saturday. "But I don't think we look at that too much. We just try to win every night and try not to look at the standings too much. We just try to win." Chicago did not hold a morning skate.
 
Avalanche projected lineup

Gabriel Landeskog -- Matt Duchene -- Rene Bourque

Sven Andrighetto -- Nathan MacKinnon -- Mikko Rantanen

John Mitchell -- Carl Soderberg -- Blake Comeau

Joe Colborne -- J.T. Compher -- Matt Nieto

Erik Johnson -- Mark Barberio

Francois Beauchemin -- Tyson Barrie

Anton Lindholm -- Fedor Tyutin

Calvin Pickard

Jeremy Smith

Scratched: Mikhail Grigorenko, Cody Goloubef, Patrick Wiercioch

Injured: Semyon Varlamov (groin/hip), Nikita Zadorov (ankle)
 
Blackhawks projected lineup

John Hayden -- Jonathan Toews -- Richard Panik

Artemi Panarin -- Nick Schmaltz -- Patrick Kane

Ryan Hartman -- Tanner Kero -- Tomas Jurco

Andrew Desjardins -- Marcus Kruger -- Jordin Tootoo

Duncan Keith -- Niklas Hjalmarsson

Johnny Oduya -- Brent Seabrook

Brian Campbell -- Trevor van Riemsdyk

Corey Crawford

Scott Darling

Scratched: Dennis Rasmussen, Michal Kempny, Michal Rozsival

Injured: Artem Anisimov (lower body), Marian Hossa (lower body)

Status report

Hossa's status and the Blackhawks' starting goalie won't be known until coach Joel Quenneville holds a pregame press conference two hours before puck drop. … Grigorenko was scratched for the second time in Colorado's past four games Saturday.
 
Who's hot

Kane has 17 points (11 goals, six assists) in his past 11 games. … Panarin has 11 points (four goals, seven assists) in his past 11 games.  … Barrie has five points (one goal, four assists) in his past six games.

-- by Brian Hedger for NHL.com --


Eurolanche.com, Worldwide, eurolanche@eurolanche.com
19/03/2017 - 18:30

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