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Blackhawks suffer first loss as Colorado dominates 2nd period of 6-2 win

The SportsXchange

DENVER - Turns out the Chicago Blackhawks are beatable. It just took 25 games to prove it.

The Blackhawks found ways to win almost every night to start this shortened season - or at least earn a point. They rallied, they dominated and they scored late goals to salvage something in the first 24 games.

The magic ran out almost a year to the date of their last regulation loss.

Matt Duchene and John Mitchell scored 33 seconds apart in Colorado's four-goal second period and the Avalanche ended Chicago's historic run with a 6-2 win on Friday night.

"We're proud of it but it'll be nice to move on now," defenseman Duncan Keith said. "It's hockey, we've lost games before in our lives. It's not like we're going to sit here and cry."

But it has been a while since the Blackhawks were pointless.

Chicago started the season with at least a point in 24 straight games, an NHL record. The Blackhawks earned a point 30 straight games over two seasons, bested only by the 1979-80 Philadelphia Flyers, who did it in 35 straight games.

Now, those marks are in the books after last-place Colorado did what no other NHL team could this year. The Blackhawks' last regular-season regulation loss was 6-1 to Nashville on March 25, 2012.

As the streak grew, so did the attention, and teams approached the Blackhawks with incentive.

"It's gained a lot of momentum over the last little while and our opponents, they treated it like it was a very important game," Chicago coach Joel Quenneville said.

For the Avalanche, every game is now important. They had lost six of their last seven entering Friday and were six points behind St. Louis for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference. Getting two points was important, and doing it against Chicago was an added bonus.

"It's special," Duchene said. "What a run by them. I don't think they're going to slow down because of this but it's pretty special. We're pretty happy."

Duchene had a lot to do with the win. He added three assists and P.A. Parenteau and Paul Stastny had a goal and two assists each. Ryan O'Reilly and Jamie McGinn also scored for Colorado, which avenged a 3-2 overtime loss in Chicago on Wednesday.

"To be the team to stop them, we had a chance last time and didn't do it," Stastny said. "We wanted to stop their streak and get one going for us."

Jonathan Toews and Bryan Bickell scored for the Blackhawks, who also had their franchise-record 11-game winning streak snapped.

Early, it looked like they would make it 25 straight when Marian Hossa, back after missing Wednesday's game with an upper-body injury, fed Toews for his 11th goal of the season 5:44 into the game.

Colorado tied it 11 minutes later when Stastny scored his seventh of the season to start the Avalanche onslaught. Duchene gave Colorado the lead with his ninth goal 4:16 into the second, Mitchell beat Corey Crawford at 4:49 and the rout was on.

"We gave them too many open shots from the slot and made it too difficult on our goaltenders to make those stops," Toews said. "We had chances to stay close but didn't play smart enough in our own zone."

O'Reilly got his first goal of the year four seconds into a power play midway through the second and McGinn ended the rally with his fourth goal at 13:58.

Crawford allowed five goals on 19 shots before being replaced by Ray Emery to start the third.

"Six goals, it's hard to win when you give up that much," Crawford said. "I didn't have it tonight. Didn't give our guys a chance."

Bickell made it a 5-2 game with goal midway through the third period and Parenteau scored with 4:14 left.

Now the Blackhawks can put the streak behind in the second half of the season.

"I'd say the last handful of games the talk about it kind of got out of control," Toews said. "We never really got distracted by that. Maybe it does take a little bit of pressure off us and we can sit back and look at the good things we've done."

NOTES: Semyon Varlamov finished with 30 saves for Colorado. ...Blackhawks forward Patrick Sharp was scratched with an upper-body injury. Forward Michael Frolik (illness) was back in the lineup after missing two games. ... Avalanche defenseman Erik Johnson returned after missing 11 games with a head injury. He took the place of rookie Tyson Barrie. ... Friday was the nine-year anniversary of Todd Bertuzzi's hit on Colorado's Steve Moore. Bertuzzi, then with Vancouver, hit Moore from behind and drove his face into the ice. Moore suffered three fractured vertebrae, a concussion and some brain damage, which ended his career. Bertuzzi was suspended for 17 months, but a majority of that time was during the 2004-05 lockout. Bertuzzi returned to the league and is now playing for the Detroit Red Wings.
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