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Varlamov strong as Avs dominate 'Hawks

The SportsXchange

DENVER -- The Colorado Avalanche seem to rise up when elite teams come to town. And for the second straight season, they pushed around the Chicago Blackhawks.

Goaltender Semyon Varlamov made 36 saves, center Paul Stastny scored a goal and an assist and the Avalanche beat the defending Stanley Cup champions 5-1 on Tuesday night.

Remarkably, it was the first time Chicago has been held to less than two goals this season. Last year, Colorado ended the Blackhawks' NHL record streak of 24 consecutive games with a point with a 6-2 win.

"Maybe we tend to respect them a little more than other teams, which we shouldn't," Stastny said. "We should respect everyone the same way. When you're young that happens. They're the defending champs and you always want to play your best against the best."

The Avalanche did that, jumping ahead early and never sweating the outcome.

Center John Mitchell, left wingers Gabriel Landeskog and Cody McLeod and right winger P.A. Parenteau also scored for Colorado.

"We had a really good start, we were really sharp around the net and scored nice goals," Colorado coach Patrick Roy said.

Center Maxime Talbot and defenseman Tyson Barrie had two assists each for the Avalanche.

Blackhawks left winger Brandon Saad scored with 7:50 left to prevent a shutout while goaltender Antti Raanta made14 saves in his NHL debut in relief of Corey Crawford, who made just four saves on seven shots before being pulled.

The Blackhawks came into Tuesday having won eight of their last 10 and earned at least a point in nine of those games.

Colorado, on the other hand, was reeling after losing three in a row following a hot start to its season.

Things looked even worse when the team's best player for the first 19 games, center Matt Duchene, went down with an oblique injury Saturday and will be sidelined for at least a week.

"We knew when Dutchy got hurt, it's not all about him, it's not all about one player," Landeskog said. "We knew we had depth enough to win this game and play well and I think the new guys stepped up and everyone that got ice time stepped up."

The Avalanche had several good chances early and took advantage of a miscue on the first goal when Chicago defenseman Brent Seabrook's pass off the backboards came out to Stastny in the slot. Stastny then blasted it past Crawford 6:37 into the game.

Landeskog made it 2-0 when he tipped defenseman Andre Benoit's shot from the point, and Mitchell scored 56 seconds later to make it 3-0.

"We gave them the first couple of goals," Chicago coach Joel Quenneville said. "We had the puck and it ended up in our net. And we couldn't buy a goal there."

Raanta then came on for Crawford.

"The target all the time was that someday I could play in the NHL, and in Rockford I had good games there, and I know I can do it," Raanta said. "Only now it's the small things so we have to keep doing work and prepare to be even better all the time."

He got his first taste of adversity when Parenteau made it 4-0 when he scored on an odd-man rush with 1:22 left in the second period.

"Scoring at the end of the second period, that was a huge goal by Parenteau," Varlamov said.

Just 1:44 into the third McLeod got his first goal of the year on a rebound to make it 5-0.

"There were a couple times in the game I was thinking a little bit too much, about what I was doing," Raanta said. "I wasn't enjoying that too much. But it was OK."

The Blackhawks, who were missing a couple of top-six forwards, lost left winger Bryan Bickell to a lower-body injury in the second period. Quenneville said he is day-to-day.

"We'll see more tomorrow, get a better assessment," he said. "Could be a bit, maybe more than day-to-day but I'm not sure of that."

NOTES: Chicago LW Bryan Bickell left after crashing into the Avalanche net in the first period. He didn't return in the second. ... Colorado played its first game without star C Matt Duchene. Duchene is out at least a week after suffering an oblique injury in Saturday's loss to Florida. Rookie C Nathan MacKinnon moved up to the top line with LW Gabriel Landeskog and RW Ryan O'Reilly. ... Blackhawks F Marian Hossa missed his third game with a lower-body injury. ... The Avalanche recalled D Tyson Barrie and C Brad Malone from Lake Erie of the AHL and placed D Ryan Wilson (back) and F Alex Tanguay (knee) on injured reserve, retroactive to Nov. 6 and Nov. 2, respectively. ... Chicago RW Patrick Kane entered Tuesday with a seven-game point streak (4-6).
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