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Blackhawks handle Avs, but nemesis injures Hossa

The SportsXchange

DENVER -- The Chicago Blackhawks are happy they've seen the last of Ryan O'Byrne and the Colorado Avalanche.

Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews each had a goal and two assists, Ray Emery stopped 17 shots and the Blackhawks beat Colorado 5-2 on Monday night.

It might have been a costly win for Chicago. Forward Marian Hossa suffered an upper-body injury in the first period when he was hit along the boards by O'Byrne. Hossa didn't return and is considered day to day.

It was the second time in three games against Chicago that O'Byrne, a defenseman, has hurt a key Blackhawks forward. Patrick Sharp is out three to four weeks with an upper-body injury after O'Byrne leveled him on March 6.

The initial diagnosis on Hossa doesn't appear to be as severe.

"He's not bad. We'll say he's day to day, upper body," Chicago coach Joel Quenneville said. "We'll know more tomorrow."

Later, O'Byrne hit Brandon Saad with his stick, but no penalty was called. Saad's team noticed, though.

"Not too much goes by them. The guys see things and say things, too," Quenneville said. "So you know what's going on."

Brent Seabrook had a goal and an assist for Chicago, and the Blackhawks' Jimmy Hayes and Andrew Shaw also scored.

The Blackhawks got a little payback against the Avalanche, who stopped their streak of 24 games with at least a point to start the season when they posted a 6-2 win March 8. In that game, Chicago opened an early 1-0 lead before the Avalanche took over.

Chicago (24-2-3) lost at home to Edmonton two nights later but has now won three straight.

Emery spelled Corey Crawford in the loss to Colorado, but Monday he was in from the opening faceoff. He benefited from two quick Chicago goals and won his 11th straight start to begin the season, extending his NHL-record run.

"I try to treat it as I want to win one game at a time," Emery said.

Hossa's injury meant increased ice time for Kane, and the forward delivered. He played 31 shifts and was on the ice for a game-high 22:30. He made them quality minutes by scoring his 16th goal and setting up two others.

"I asked him (if he needed a break) a couple of times, where he looked like he might have been out of breath, but a couple of times he even laughed at me," Quenneville said. "He likes to go and he had the puck a lot tonight."

Kane scored what proved to be the winner early in the second period.

"It was a little bit tiring, but you can't really turn down much ice (time)," Kane said. "When they keep telling you to go out there, I was happy with it."

Semyon Varlamov had 27 saves, and Gabriel Landeskog and Milan Hejduk scored for the Avalanche, who have lost four straight.

"We're in a hole right now and we have to get out of it," Hejduk said. "One team was playing with lots of confidence, another team didn't and it definitely showed."

The Avalanche (10-14-4) got off to another slow start. They've been outscored 32-19 in the first period this season -- a trend that continued when Hayes and Shaw scored 57 seconds apart in the first 4:44.

Landeskog's short-handed goal with 34 seconds left in the first cut it to 2-1, but Kane made it 3-1 early in the second when he shot the puck over a sprawled Varlamov after a scramble in front involving Toews.

"If Toews knocked Varly or not, I don't know. He dumped him a little bit, but it is what it is," Landeskog said. "I haven't seen the tape yet, but it was a big goal for them."

Seabrook scored later in the period to make it a three-goal lead.

Hejduk made it 4-2 with his fourth goal at 18:34 of the second, but the Avalanche didn't do much offensively after that. They were held without a shot for the first 15:30 of the third and finished with just four shots in the period.

Toews added his 14th goal of the season late in the third.

NOTES: Landeskog's first-period score was Colorado's first short-handed goal of the season. Entering Monday, the Avalanche were one of five teams that didn't have a short-handed goal this season. ... Kane has points in four straight games. He has four goals and six assists in that span. ... There were only two penalties called in the game, one on each team. ... Avalanche defenseman Ryan Wilson missed his second straight game with an ankle injury. Wilson missed 15 games Feb. 4-March 8 with the injury before returning for three games. He aggravated the ankle Thursday at Minnesota. ... Hejduk returned to the lineup after being a scratch Saturday.
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