Throughout the season, NBCSN will feature the NHL’s fiercest rivalries on Wednesday nights. Tonight the Colorado Avalanche will head to the United Center for a match against the Chicago Blackhawks at 8:00 p.m. ET.
This is a game Colorado Avalanche captain Gabriel Landeskog has been looking forward to for over a month.
Back when Chicago’s points streak was still in his infancy, Landeskog turned to Paul Stastny and asked him, “When do we play Chicago?”
“Now there is only one more game in between and then it’s up to us and we could have a chance to end that streak,” Landeskog told NHL.com before Chicago’s 5-3 victory against Chicago on Tuesday. “To be honest, I want them to win Tuesday night and we want to be the team that goes in there and puts an end to that.”
Well, Landeskog got his wish.
Chicago’s point streak is not only by far the longest that anyone has ever mustered to start a season, it’s the second longest of all-time at 29 consecutive games (dating back to last season). On top of that, if the Blackhawks beat the Avalanche tonight, it will mean that they powered through the entire first half of their schedule without a single regulation loss.
The Colorado Avalanche seem like an unlikely group to end Chicago’s historic run given their 8-9-4 record, but there are reasons for the Blackhawks to be worried.
First off, Landeskog is back from a head injury and has had five games to shake off the rust. Ryan O’Reilly has also gotten two games under his belt after finally re-signing as a restricted free agent.
Starting goaltender Semyon Varlamov has been inconsistent lately, but he held the Blackhawks to just six goals in three starts last season.
It would still be impossible to paint the Avalanche as anything other than huge underdogs, but sooner or later one of these underdogs will get the better of Chicago in regulation. After all, Chicago can’t earn a point in all 48 of their games this season…can they?
Probable goaltenders: CHI – Ray Emery (9-0-0, 2.02 GAA, .926 SV%) | COL – Varlamov (6-8-3, 2.79 GAA, .910 SV%)
Top scorers: CHI – Patrick Kane (12-15-27, 23 GP) | COL – PA Parenteau (9-10-19, 21 GP) and Matt Duchene (7-12-19, 20 GP)
Chicago – Forwards: Michael Frolik (illness) Defensemen: Steve Montador (concussion)
Colorado – Forwards: Milan Hejduk (upper body), Steve Downie (knee) Defensemen: Erik Johnson (concussion), Ryan Wilson (ankle)