The Colorado Avalanche (40-17-5. 85 points) came away with a big win Tuesday night over the Chicago Blackhawks at the United Center, 4-2. Avalanche defenseman Tyson Barrie would score the game-winning goal in the third period off of a power-play chance, where he went top-shelf beating Blackhawks goaltender Corey Crawford.
At the 11:13 mark in the first period, Avalanche defenseman Jan Hejda would get called on a bad penalty on his part. He would interfere with Blackhawks Brandon Saad sending the Blackhawks on the power-play but would fail to get anything going.
Late in the third period, Erik Johnson would be called for holding on Brandon Bollig setting up yet another chance for the Hawks to strike early. Their power-play would extend to the second period as they had 40 seconds remaining but the Avalanche penalty-kill unit did another solid job limiting the Blackhawks.
Picking up the in the second period, Erik Johnson sent a low-shot in from the point that would be tipped from the side of the net by Maxime Talbot and in for the goal. Talbot’s goal would be his 7th of the season on the assists from Erik Johnson and Jan Hejda as the Avalanche took the 1-0 lead.
Colorado would draw a couple of penalties in the second as Duncan Keith was called for holding on Matt Duchene and a too many men on the ice call. Colorado couldn’t convert as Jamie McGinn interrupted the second power-play chance as he was called for interference.
After the Avalanche killed off the McGinn penalty, Blackhawks forward Ben Smith would make a swift move past Gabriel Landeskog for the open-shot, shooting it by Semyon Varlamov to tie the game up at one. The goal would be Smith’s 8th of the season on the assists from Brandon Bollig and Niklas Hjalmarsson.
Jumping into the third period, Ryan O’Reilly would score his 24th goal of the season on a quick outlet pass from Matt Duchene to take the 2-1 lead just 1:23 into the third. Nathan MacKinnon would be called for a tripping call roughly five minutes later giving the Blackhawks a chance to tie it up.
And they did, as Jonathan Toews scored his 22nd goal of the season to tie the game up at two. Some quick passing from Patrick Sharp and Duncan Keith led the goal, also the broken stick from Avs forward John Mitchell played apart it in.
The Avalanche would have a chance to capitalize on a penalty committed by Johnny Oduya as he was called for interference on Paul Stastny behind the Blackhawks net. Colorado would convert as Erik Johnson’s pass to Tyson Barrie was sniped in on a one-time attempt that went top-shelf giving him his 9th goal of the season and an Avalanche 3-2 lead.
The Blackhawks would decide to pull Crawford with 1:33 remaining in the third period putting the extra attacker out on the ice early. Nathan MacKinnon would make a nice behind-the-back pass to a wide-open Paul Stastny in-front of the net for the empty-net goal. Stastny would record his 20th goal of the season as the Avalanche came away with the 4-2 win.
With the assist to Stastny, Nathan MacKinnon would push his point streak to 12 games as he is now the youngest player (18 years old) to do so, passing Wayne Gretzky.
3: Jonathan Toews (CHI): One goal.
2: Erik Johnson (COL): Three assists:
1: Semyon Varlamov (COL): 36-of-38 save attempts, .947% save percentage.
The Colorado Avalanche (40-17-5, 85 points) return back to action Thursday night on the road as they take on the Detroit Red Wings at Joe Louis Arena. Puck-drop is scheduled for 7:30 PM ET, 5:30 PM MT.
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