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Game 7: Avalanche At Blackhawks, Preview and Open Thread

I could waste a lot of space previewing this game, but instead I'll just break it down into a list of things working for and against the Avalanche when they face the Chicago Blackhawks on the road tonight at the United Center.  This is the first game of a four-game road trip.

Working For The Avs:

  1. Two-game winning streak
  1. Ryan Smyth on a rampage
  1. The Youngins (Stastny, Wolski, Svatos)
  1. The Blackhawks' defensive weakness

Working Against The Avs:

  1. Jose Theodore in net
  1. 0-2 record on the road so far
  1. Inconsistent defense
  1. The Youngins (Toews, Kane, Ruutu)

This game could really go either way.  On paper, the Avalanche is a much stronger team by far than the 'Hawks, but with their twin road game collapses and Jose "I Can't Believe It's Not Budaj" Theodore getting a totally-undeserved start in net, it's a toss up.

I'll be live blogging at least until I can't take it anymore.  The game starts at 7:30 PM Central Time (8:30 Eastern, 6:30 Mountain).  

ESPN preview.