On Wednesday night, the Colorado Avalanche came close to ending the record-setting streak of the Chicago Blackhawks. They were leading by a goal going into the third period; only to allow a shorthanded goal by Jonathan Toews, followed by a last-minute dagger to the heart by Daniel Carcillo.
Friday night, they will get a chance at revenge.
For the second time in three days, the Hawks and Avalanche will face off against each other. This time, the contest will be in the Mile High City (where they are an impressive 6-2-1). Despite a difficult start to the season, there are some other reasons for optimism amongst the Avalanche faithful.
The first is the return of defenseman Erik Johnson. After missing 11 games with a concussion, the former first overall pick is expected to return to Colorado’s lineup tonight. At 6’4 he provides a big body, more than capable of clearing the front of the net; something that the Avs’ inability to do proved costly in their last contest.
It will also mark Ryan O’Reilly’s first game at home since returning from his contract-related hiatus. He has made strides in each of his three contests. The ever-diligent center should be eager to prove to those in attendance that the organization’s faith in him is not misplaced.
For the Blackhawks, they will be without key forward Patrick Sharp, who was injured in Wednesday’s contest. Andrew Shaw was also hurt in the game, but is listed as questionable. Marian Hossa is also questionable for the Hawks.
Historically, the Avalanche have had the upper hand against the Blackhawks; winning 36 of 64 contests, including 20 of 31 in Denver. The Avs have also won both playoff series between the clubs. But against all odds, these Hawks continue to defy history.
The action starts at 7 p.m. MST