The Colorado Avalanche continued their winning ways earlier this week with a shootout victory against the Los Angeles Kings. They hope to continue their winning ways against the Central Division leading Chicago Blackhawks.
Chicago is coming of an incredibly disappointing 5-4 loss to the Philadelphia Flyers on Thursday night, a game where they fought back from a 4-2 deficit only to watch the Flyers score the game winning goal in the final minute of regulation. The Hawks have now lost two straight games (and three of their last four) and face the inenviable task of playing a rested Avalanche team on the second night of a back to back.
Corey Crawford will be the likely starter in net. After receiving a three year extension this offseason, Crawford is having a very average season in net. His .904 SV% is hovering around league average and he has seen his playing time split with journeyman backup Ray Emery this year -- not quite what the Blackhawks front office had in mind entering this season.
Colorado is finishing their four game road trip with back to back games against Chicago and the St. Louis Blues. With teams like Phoenix, Minnesota, and Nashville all failing to gain ground in the playoff hunt, the Avalanche have a golden opportunity to keep pace in the postseason chase with a successful weekend. Their lack of offensive depth will be challenged against two playoff caliber teams.
Semyon Varlamov is likely to get the start in net after his most dominant performance of the year in Los Angeles.
Puck drops at 6:30 p.m. MDT.
For more coverage, visit our Avalanche blog Mile High Hockey and our Hawks blog Second City Hockey.