It seems like the home cooking has finally done its job for the Avalanche. After a shut-out to the St. Louis Blues on Feb. 16, they have handedly beaten the Las Vegas Golden Knights and the Winnipeg Jets in consecutive home games. These two wins have greatly improved the Avs’ standing (putting them one spot out of the second wild card slot). They head to Chicago to face a Blackhawks team also riding a two game win streak from two close games.
When the top team in the Division comes to town, you expect a battle.— Colorado Avalanche (@Avalanche) February 21, 2019
Instead, we got A BEATDOWN!! #GoAvsGo pic.twitter.com/dETx8SsM4H
Several young players have stepped up in the home stand and are proving themselves in the Avs lineup. They defeated the Jets 7-1 on Wednesday, thanks to seven goals from seven different players and strong goaltending from Semyon Varlamov (.963 SV %).
Tyson Jost has made his return to the lineup impactful with three points against the Jets (1 goal, 2 assists) and a goal in the previous game against the Knights. Forward A.J. Greer also scored his first NHL goal in the last game.
These contributions are promising, but the whole team needs to stay focused in order to keep up the success. The off day to travel can help by giving the team some rest and allowing them to rest before tonight’s game, but it can also cause them to lose the strength that they found at home. Let’s hope that their massive scoring streak in the third period on Wednesday (five points in 20 minutes) keeps up.
Alex Kerfoot - Nathan MacKinnon - Sven Andrighetto
Matt Nieto - Carl Soderberg - Mikko Rantanen
Gabriel Landeskog - Tyson Jost - Matt Calvert
A.J. Greer - Andrew Agozzino - J.T. Compher
Samuel Girard - Erik Johnson
Ryan Graves - Tyson Barrie
Patrik Nemeth - Nikita Zadorov
The Blackhawks are sitting one playoff spot behind the Avs right now, so expect them to bring their win streak home in an attempt to gain those valuable standings points.
They held off the Red Wings in overtime on the road on Wednesday, but had to come back after allowing three goals in the third period. Patrick Kane scored the game winner in OT, and he also scored in the second period to put the Blackhawks up 4-1. He is coming into his game with a 19-game point streak.
Kane only scored one goal (but had two assists) in their game on Monday against the Senators, but the whole team was scoring in the Blackhawks 8-7 slugfest victory at home. Alex DeBrincat had three goals and six others had at least one point or one assist, allowing the Blackhawks to score in each period.
Drake Caggiula — Jonathan Toews — Patrick Kane
Alex DeBrincat — Dylan Strome — Dominik Kahun
Brandon Saad — Artem Anisimov — Dylan Sikura
Brendan Perlini — Marcus Kruger — John Hayden
Duncan Keith — Erik Gustafsson
Gustav Forsling — Slater Koekkoek
Carl Dahlstrom — Connor Murphy
Since both teams were off yesterday, expect them to play their starting goalies.
Semyon Varlamov has been much improved recently, only allowing one goal in his last two games. This is the first time the two teams are seeing each other this season, but they will play again in just over a month. Varlamov is hot right now, and with the off day, he should be good to go. If he does well tomorrow, the job could be his again when the tow teams face off in March.
Looks like Delia will start tonight against the Avalanche.— Scott Powers (@ByScottPowers) February 22, 2019
After signing a new three year contract extension a couple weeks ago, Collin Delia has struggled in his last two starts for the Blackhawks. He let in six goals against the Bruins ten days ago and then was pulled after allowing three goals in the opening half of the first period Monday night.
The 24-year old has been good this season with a .912 sv% in 13 starts for Chicago.