Playing in their third matchup with the Chicago Blackhawks in as many weeks, the Colorado Avalanche were looking to put the unsavory loss to St. Louis behind them and begin another winning streak. And that they did easily disposing of Chicago in a 4-1 win.
As the teams traded chances throughout the first period it took nearly ten minutes for the first score. It was none other than Ian Cole whose shot found its way past Blackhawks netminder Corey Crawford to put the visitors on the board. However they would give that lead right back just over a minute later when Ryan Carpenter was the beneficiary off a Mark Barberio turnover. Active defensemen was the story of this first period which ended in a 1-1 tie but shots were 19-6 in favor of Colorado.
The second period is where the Avalanche began to take full control and what better way to do so than with a Nathan MacKinnon goal at 7:49. A typical quick transition play and simple little feed from a Mikko Rantanen was all that was needed for MacKinnon to pick a corner and rifle a shot through to the back of the net.
Andre Burakovsky got his first goal in five games when he pounced on a neutral zone turnover by Kirby Dach and made an incredible individual effort and shot through Olli Maatta at 10:08.
Chicago tried to make the game interesting in the third period but Mikko Rantanen easily stick handled his way with a loose puck and through the Blackhawks for an empty net goal with just under three minutes to go. The only other item of excitement was when Sam Girard and Alex DeBrincat continued their feud when the former hit the latter with a borderline late hit that went uncalled and then drew a penalty of his own on the retaliation sending the Avalanche on a late power play. Surely the fireworks will continue in the season series finale on Saturday night in Denver.
- The defense has reached patchwork status with Anton Lindholm drawing in for Calle Rosen in this contest. Word is Erik Johnson is a possibility for the next game and hopefully Cale Makar isn’t too far behind. The Avalanche tend to get roped into a run and gun style with teams who play more wide open and have the firepower to make that strategy work but they will need to tighten down defensively to continue their success moving forward.
- Lines were shuffled in this game to help strengthen all four lines but some of the new combinations fell flat. Val Nichushkin looked out of sorts away from Matt Calvert and Pierre-Edouard Bellemare in one of his more disjointed games in a while. The positive was Tyson Jost getting some more opportunity playing with Nazem Kadri but the line did not convert either.
- Pavel Francouz continues to shine as he made 31 saves en route to picking up the victory. Francouz now sports a 10-2-1 record with a .934 save percentage and 2.16 goals against average. He has been more than just a backup goaltender for the Avalanche.
Back at home tomorrow night to host the Carolina Hurricanes at 7:00pm MT.