After Colorado fell under the avalanche that is the Vegas Golden Knights in a 7-0 loss Friday, it won’t have to wait long to hit the ice again when it hosts the Chicago Blackhawks on Saturday. The Avalanche yielded four goals in a 9:26 span of the second period in losing for the fourth time in five games after a promising start to the season saw them win four of five.
Colorado also lost forwards Gabriel Bourque and rookie Alexander Kerfoot (three goals this season) to upper-body injuries with Kerfoot potentially sustaining a concussion. “You have to have a short-term memory in this business, after the highs and after the lows, and that was certainly a low point for us (Friday), not only the loss but losing all those guys too,” Avalanche coach Jared Bednar told the Denver Post. Chicago will also be hungry after losing to Nashville 2-1 on Friday for its fourth loss in five games (1-3-1). The Blackhawks won the 2016-17 season series versus Colorado 3-2 with captain Jonathan Toews recording four goals and two assists, bringing his career totals against the Avalanche to 19 goals and 19 assists in 37 games.
TV: 9 p.m. ET, NBCSN Chicago, Altitude (Colorado)
ABOUT THE BLACKHAWKS (5-4-2): Chicago came out flying Friday by recording 21 shots in the first period - matching their most for a frame this season - with Artem Anisimov scoring short-handed for his second goal of the season after matching a career high with 22 in 2016-17. Patrick Kane (five goals), who leads the club with 12 points, had a six-game point streak snapped Friday, while Brandon Saad (team-high six goals) was denied on a short-handed breakaway on his 25th birthday. Coach Joel Quenneville - in an effort to spark his team - broke up his No. 1 defense pairing of Duncan Keith and Brent Seabrook on Friday, pairing Keith with rookie Jan Rutta and Seabrook with Gustav Forsling.
ABOUT THE AVALANCHE (5-5-0): Colorado is 20th in the NHL in scoring at 2.8 goals per game and doesn’t have a player with more than three with Matt Duchene (team-high eight points along with defenseman Tyson Barrie) one of six players with three. Defenseman Patrik Nemeth returned to the lineup Friday after missing Tuesday’s 5-3 victory over Dallas with a lower-body injury. Jonathan Bernier (1-2-0, 3.04 goals-against average, .894 save percentage) will likely get the start Saturday after Semyon Varlamov (4-3-0) allowed seven goals on 21 shots against Vegas, lowering his save percentage from .929 to .904.
1. Quenneville also elevated rookie RW Alex DeBrincat (goal, three assists in 11 games) to the top line Friday for the first time this season, joining LW Saad and C Toews.
2. Barrie’s point streak was stopped at six games as he remains at 199 career points.
3. The Blackhawks went 0-for-6 on the power play Friday and are 1-for-16 in their last four games.
PREDICTION: Blackhawks 3, Avalanche 2