Two days after the Chicago Blackhawks found a way to cool off streaking Colorado, the Avalanche hope they can return the favor Saturday night by continuing their early success away from home.
The Avalanche look to extend their franchise-best five-game road winning streak to open a season when they face the Blackhawks in the finale of a home-and-home set.
Coming off a 5-0-0 road trip, Colorado remained winless in two home games when it fell 3-1 to Chicago on Thursday. The Avalanche (5-2-0) had averaged 4.8 goals in their previous four games but mustered only Ryan O’Byrne’s(notes) second-period score on 32 shots against Corey Crawford(notes).
The Blackhawks also killed off both of the Avalanche’s power-play chances after Colorado was 7 for 12 with the man advantage in its previous three games. Chicago has allowed the opposition to score once in 17 power-play chances this season.
Thankfully for the Avalanche, they won’t have to wait long for a chance to avenge that result when they begin a two-game trip Saturday. Colorado has not won six consecutive road games at any point in a season since Jan. 19-March 11, 2002.
These clubs split two meetings in Chicago last season. The Avalanche were unable to solve Crawford when he stopped 24 shots in a 4-0 victory in the teams’ last matchup at the United Center on Jan. 12.
Crawford is 3-1-1 with a 1.79 goals-against average this season for the Blackhawks (4-1-1), who return home after sweeping a two-game trip to Phoenix and Colorado.
Chicago captain Jonathan Toews(notes) had a goal with an assist and Patrick Sharp(notes) snapped a 1-1 tie in the third period Thursday. Marian Hossa(notes) added an empty-netter for his third goal in his last three games.
Toews has five goals and nine assists in 14 career games versus Colorado.
“They’re a good team, a good skating team,” O’Reilly said. “You give them good opportunities they are going to take advantage.”
Though the Blackhawks outplayed the Avalanche on Thursday, Crawford expects the challenge to be even tougher this time around against a team looking for some payback.
“Every game is different, it’s not going to get any easier,” Crawford told the Blackhawks’ official website.
Chicago felt fortunate it was able to slip anything past Colorado’s Semyon Varlamov(notes), who made 27 saves while having his own three-game winning streak snapped in his first career appearance against the Blackhawks.
Teammate Milan Hejduk(notes) also was shut out after he recorded two goals with two assists in the previous three contests. Hejduk has three goals in his last four games at the United Center, where Chicago is 2-0-1 this season.