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Game Preview: Avalanche at Blackhawks

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Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

Is it that time again, already? It seems like just over a week ago I was writing a preview for an Avalanche game versus the Blackhawks. Wait, it was just over a week ago last time they played! Right, December 31st -- New Year's Eve. Colorado's third overtime loss of the season. The one where they finally didn't get stonewalled by Semyon Varlamov for sixty straight minutes.

It appears they're at it again. On Friday night, the Avs took down another division rival, the Nashville Predators, to draw them to a tie in the standings at 45 points. Today, they hopped on a plane for a one-game road trip to Chi-town to play yet another tough Central Division rival. Though I'm sure they'd prefer a less able opponent, the Avs are on a roll -- going 6-2-2 in the their last ten games. There's a lot of excitement in the locker room right now and something tells me they'll come to play against a tough divisional opponent who is on a roll themselves.

Chicago has rattled off six straight wins, drawing them to within six points of what we thought was an insurmountable Central Division lead. Patrick Kane continues to lead the NHL in scoring, with 60 points in 43 games. And it's not just the big names getting the job done. The Blackhawks are 5th in the league in scoring, and sport the 3rd best power play. The Avalanche have to stay out of the box to have a chance tonight.

No word as of this writing whether or not Varlamov gets another start in net, but would it really surprise anyone?

Lineups

Tanguay - MacKinnon - Duchene

Landeskog - Soderberg - Comeau

Martinsen - Grigorenko - Iginla

McLeod - Mitchell - Skille

Beachemin - Bodnarchuk

Holden - Barrie

Guenin - Redmond

Varlamov

Pickard