The Colorado Avalanche made it to the Windy City for a matchup with the Chicago Blackhawks, Colorado’s first game in the United Center since December of 2019. The Avalanche look to remain undefeated in 2022 against a struggling Blackhawks squad.
The Avalanche are coming off an impressive 4-2 win over the Anaheim Ducks that featured late-game heroics from Nathan MacKinnon and Logan O’Connor. Experts expected the Avalanche to be a bit rusty after not having a game for sixteen calendar days. Still, they looked more and more in sync as the game wore on and eventually found a way to beat one of the league’s best goaltenders in John Gibson.
Avalanche forward and superstar Nathan MacKinnon is on pace to score 120 points this season while only tallying three goals so far. This fact has more than likely forced some gambling folk to rip out a few strands of hair; however, it just shows that MacKinnon has found another way to use the space his speed and agility can create. Teams can take away his space and subsequently generate more for the likes of Rantanen, Landeskog, and Makar, or give MacKinnon a look at a chance. They won’t ever do both.
This Avalanche lineup is the healthiest it’s been all season with just Valeri Nichushkin out due to injury. Nuke should be expected to miss at least 4-5 more games before returning.
Gabriel Landeskog - Nathan MacKinnon - Mikko Rantanen
JT Compher - Nazem Kadri - Andre Burakovsky
Nicolas Aube-Kubel - Alex Newhook - Logan O’Connor
Kurtis MacDermid - Tyson Jost - Darren Helm
Devon Toews - Cale Makar
Bowen Byram - Samuel Girard
Erik Johnson - Jack Johnson
The Blackhawks made waves in the offseason by acquiring Marc Andre Fleury from the Vegas Golden Knights and defenseman Seth Jones. Unfortunately, those moves haven’t accelerated the process as planned.
Derek King took the coaching duties back in November, and the hawks looked to improve but have found themselves on a bit of a skid as of late. Chicago lost the last two contests by a combined 11-2 and is looking to end a four-game losing streak against a Colorado team that is the healthiest it’s been since 2019.
Alex Debrincat - Henrik Borgstrum - Patrick Kane
Brandon Hagel - Jonathan Toews - Dylan Strome
Dominik Kubalik - Kirby Dach - Philipp Kurashev
Jujhar Khaira - Josiah Slavin - Kurtis Gabriel
Calvin De Haan - Seth Jones
Jake Mccabe - Connor Murphy
Caleb Jones - Erik Gustafsson
The Colorado Avalanche will likely go with starter Darcy Kuemper who is slowly but surely, finding his groove in Burgandy and Blue. Kuemper has only given up two goals in his last three starts. Playing behind one of the more prolific offensive teams in the league and only giving up two goals a game is a winning formula. He comes in with a .273 GAA and a .909 save percentage.
The Hawks will likely go with Collin Delia with Marc Andre Fleury fresh off the COVID-19 protocol list. It will be just the second NHL appearance for Delia if he gets the nod. On the other hand, if Fleury is good to go, he’s the clear and obvious start.