NBCSN will continue its coverage of the 2016-17 campaign tonight when the Colorado Avalanche host the Chicago Blackhawks at 9:00 p.m. ET. If you want to watch the game online, you can do so here.
Both the Avalanche and Blackhawks will enter tonight’s game with a two-game losing streaks. The major difference between these two teams is that Colorado’s season has felt like one long losing streak, while the ‘Hawks find themselves comfortably in a playoff spot.
Things are so bad in Colorado that they’re likely looking to move pieces like Gabriel Landeskog and Matt Duchene in an effort to blow the team up and start over.
GM Joe Sakic has already stated that Nathan MacKinnon isn’t going anywhere, but that doesn’t mean he’ll get preferential treatment from head coach Jared Bednar.
During Saturday’s loss to the Preds, Bednar benched the young forward, who acknowledged that he wasn’t playing particularly well.
“I wasn’t playing that good and just needed to sit down for a bit and regroup,” said MacKinnon, per the Denver Post.
“It was a good reminder to stay focused. It’s just in-game stuff that happens in sports. It was like three or four shifts. It wasn’t a big deal.”
As you might imagine, scoring goals has been a problem in Denver this season (keeping the puck out of their own net has been an issue too). They’re currently last in the goals for department with 82, which is nine less than Arizona, who are 29th.
The Avalanche have played 41 games this season and MacKinnon leads them in points with 28. That puts him in tie for 71st in league scoring.
It looks like things will get a whole lot worse, in Colorado, before they get better.
As for ‘Hawks, they’re coming off a rough weekend that saw them lose 6-0 to the Capitals on Friday and 3-2 to the top team in the Central, the Minnesota Wild.
“Good way to kind of judge ourselves, where we’re at,” said Patrick Kane, per CSN Chicago. “Might be a little bit of a wake-up call to see how good we really are.
“The game (on Friday) was kind of like a shock to the system thinking maybe you’re one of the top teams in the league, or being able to compete with one of the top teams, and we obviously got thoroughly outplayed. We came back (Sunday night). It was pretty even in chances. We might’ve even had more so, just kind of didn’t pull it out. But (when) you’ve played two of the better teams in the league and lose, there’s got to be room for improvement, right?”
The Blackhawks are still a good team, there’s no doubt about that. After all, they’re second in their division and conference. They trail the division-leading Wild by just two points, but they’ve played four games more than Minnesota.