Blackhawks-Avalanche Preview

The Associated Press

The Colorado Avalanche have lost three straight games and dropped three spots in the Central Division standings in less than a week.

They'll look to snap that skid and get things going in the right direction Tuesday night when they host the defending Stanley Cup champion Chicago Blackhawks.

"My standpoint, I haven't changed. I didn't change one bit," Avalanche coach Patrick Roy told the team's official website. "Obviously, the start that we have, people start thinking differently of us, which is what we want at some point, but I haven't changed. It's, 'One game at a time,' and we'll be focused on Chicago tomorrow night. That's the only thing we control."

The Avalanche (14-5-0) hadn't lost consecutive games before the current skid, which was extended Saturday with a 4-1 home loss to Florida. Colorado opened the season 14-2-0.

"I don't know if three games is a slump," Roy said.

The loss included a key injury. Leading scorer Matt Duchene left the game after suffering a third-period oblique injury and is expected to miss at least a week. The Avs will also be without Alex Tanguay (knee) and Ryan Wilson (back) against the Blackhawks.

Brad Malone and Tyson Barrie have been recalled from AHL Lake Erie.

The Avalanche are looking at the matchup against first-place Chicago as an opportunity rather than a difficult way to overcome a losing streak.

"They're a club that inspires a lot of teams around the league, especially teams that have been going through a rough time lately," forward Gabriel Landeskog said.

"For us, we've gotten off to a pretty good start this year and want to keep on building. To become a team like that you have to be in the playoffs for numerous years in a row, and you, obviously, have to win. Those guys have done a great job with that, and they're definitely inspiring everyone."

The Blackhawks (14-3-4) bounced back from their worst loss of the season with Sunday's 5-1 home win over San Jose.

Corey Crawford made 23 saves as the Blackhawks won for the fifth time in six games after Saturday's 7-2 loss at Nashville.

"We weren't happy with the last game, obviously," Crawford said. "Tonight was one of our better efforts all around, defensively, from everyone in this room."

Crawford is 2-4-1 with a 3.14 goals-against average and .877 save percentage against Colorado. Among teams he's played more than three games against, those numbers are worse than every opponent other than Edmonton.

Patrick Sharp had an assist and two goals, including one on a penalty shot late in the third period.

Patrick Kane extended his point streak to seven games with an assist, while Jonathan Toews scored his 10th goal of the season. Toews has scored in each of his last three games against the Avalanche.

The five-goal night bumped Chicago's league-best goals-per-game mark to 3.57.

Chicago rolled to a 5-2 road win in its last meeting with Colorado on March 18. Kane and Toews each had a goal and two assists.

The Blackhawks won two of three against the Avalanche last season. Their 6-2 loss in Colorado on March 8 snapped their NHL-record 24-game streak to start a season without a regulation loss.

What to Read Next