Fresh off their 5-4 victory over the Detroit Red Wings (giving them six points for the five game homestand), the Colorado Avalanche hit the road to face another Central Division team; the reigning champion Chicago Blackhawks.
The Avalanche have fared very well against Chicago this year, going 3-0 and outscoring the Hawks by a 15-11 margin. Every game between these two teams has been exciting, high scoring hockey, especially the last meeting between these two teams that featured the first career hat trick by Avalanche forward Tomas Fleischmann, with all three goals scored in the third period to give Colorado a shocking 7-5 victory.
Tonight's game will feature two of the fastest skating offenses in the league, with both teams coming into this game with a top six NHL offense. The Chicago Blackhawks bring the league's best overall power play against Colorado's 29th ranked penalty kill, a distinct advantage for the home team. In the ever-tightening Western Conference playoff race, these two teams are separated by a mere point. While Colorado has already won the season series (and therefore the playoff tiebreaker), these two teams will be desperate for those valuable two points in the standings.
Chicago forward Patrick Sharp has four goals in his past four games. Colorado rookie defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk will be a game time decision for the Avalanche as he recovers from a foot injury suffered on Saturday against the Islanders.
Corey Crawford will get his fifth consecutive start in net, and is coming off a 5-0 shutout victory over the New York Islanders. Peter Budaj will get his second consecutive start in net for Colorado.
Puck drops at 6:30pm MST.