The Blackhawks are on a seven-game points streak and have gone 4-0-3 during the stretch. This will be the sixth game of an eight-game homestand. They are 2-0-3 on the homestand so far. They’re also 35-18-5 with 75 points overall and are nine points back of the Nashville Predators and three points behind the St. Louis Blues in the Central Division. The Avalanche are in sixth place in the division with a 24-23-11 record.
This will be the fourth meeting between the Blackhawks and Avalanche this season. The Blackhawks won 3-2 on Nov. 26 and 5-2 on Dec. 27. The Avalanche won 2-0 on Jan. 6.
Avalanche goaltender Semyon Varlamov has had the Blackhawks’ number in recent seasons. He stopped all 54 shots he faced in the Avalanche’s win over the Blackhawks in January. He has 168 saves on 175 shots for a .960 save percentage against the Blackhawks during the last two years.
Blackhawks forward Patrick Kane is tied with the Washington Capitals’ Nicklas Backstrom for a NHL-best 63 points. Kane hasn’t registered a point in the last two games. He hasn’t gone more than two games without a point all season.
The Avalanche are led by Jarome Iginla’s 18 goals and 40 points. Gabriel Landeskog is on a four-game goals streak.
The Blackhawks’ lines are expected to be Brandon Saad – Jonathan Toews – Marian Hossa, Kris Versteeg – Brad Richards – Kane, Bryan Bickell – Andrew Shaw – Ryan Hartman and Patrick Sharp – Marcus Kruger – Ben Smith. Their defenseman pairings are expected to be Johnny Oduya – Niklas Hjalmarsson, Duncan Keith – Michal Rozsival and Kyle Cumiskey – Brent Seabrook.
Corey Crawford will start in net for the Blackhawks. He is 23-12-4 with a 2.24 goals-against average and .922 save percentage.
The Blackhawks are first in the league with an 88.0 penalty-kill percentage. They have killed off 14-of-15 penalties in the last nine games.