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NHL Preview from The Sports Network



Tuesday, March 4th (All times Eastern)

Colorado Avalanche (39-17-5) at Chicago Blackhawks (36-12-14), 8 p.m.

(SportsNetwork.com) - While the scene many not be worthy of a postcard, the Chicago Blackhawks return to the United Center for the first time in over five weeks on Tuesday night as they clash with the Colorado Avalanche.

The Blackhawks last game inside its arena came back on Jan. 26. Chicago played its final six games before the Olympic break on the road, then came out of the hiatus with an away game against the New York Rangers.

The 'Hawks then kicked off a span of three straight as the hosting club on Saturday, but that game was played outdoors at Soldier Field versus the Pittsburgh Penguins as part of the NHL's "Stadium Series."

Playing amid a snowfall, the Blackhawks got two goals and an assist from Jonathan Toews in a 5-1 victory that snapped a two-game slide.

Corey Crawford battled the elements to post 31 saves, while Patrick Sharp had a goal and an assist. Kris Versteeg and Bryan Bickell added tallies.

"It was exciting for us as players to be a part of this and play at Solider Field," Toews said. "I think as a team we're super happy we were able to find a way to win."

Chicago is tied with the St. Louis Blues for first place in the Central Division with 86 points, three ahead of third-place Colorado.

While the Blackhawks return to the United Center, they do so without forward Marian Hossa in the lineup. He is expected to miss 2-to-3 weeks of action with an upper-body injury suffered versus the Penguins.

The 35-year-old Hossa has 24 goals and 26 assists in 57 games this season.

The Avalanche, meanwhile, are looking to keep the pressure on the Blackhawks and Blues while also building their eight-point edge over the Minnesota Wild for the third and final automatic playoff bid in the division.

Colorado has won three of four and seven of its last 10 games, picking up a second victory in a row with Sunday's 6-3 decision over the Tampa Bay Lightning.

Defenseman Nick Holden scored twice during a four-goal third period, while fellow blueliner Erik Johnson also tallied in the frame. Paul Stastny, Tyson Barrie and Ryan O'Reilly finished with goals as well and Semyon Varlamov made 31 saves.

"I think that's huge for us. They are a good hockey club and one of the top teams in the East and for us to get a win like that, it just gives us momentum," noted O'Reilly. "It's especially nice after tonight in the first period and they came back and then there in the second and we took control in the third. It's a good win for us."

Nathan MacKinnon had two assists, giving him at least one point in 11 straight games. MacKinnon has five goals and 11 assists during the longest point streak by an NHL rookie since Stastny's record 20-game run from Feb. 3-March 17, 2007.

The Avalanche have won two of three over the Blackhawks this season and six of the last nine encounters overall.

Varlamov is 5-3-0 with a 2.25 goals against average in nine games versus the Blackhawks, while Crawford has gone 2-5-2 with a 3.40 GAA when squaring off against the Avs.

03/04 10:53:53 ET

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Scoreboard
Local
3rd
CAR 2
WAS 0
 
4th
BOS 87
CHA 88
 
4th
IND 88
CLE 81
 
4th
PHI 83
WAS 76
 
4th
BOS 87
CHA 88
 
3rd
TOR 57
GSW 98
 
4th
DET 69
NYK 66
 
4th
ATL 76
ORL 69
 
Half
HOU 53
BRK 57
 
Half
MEM 41
LAC 41
 
Half
NOP 54
MIA 54
 
Half
CHI 51
MIN 44
 
1st
DEN 3
UTA 14
 
10:00pm Tonight
SAC
SAN
10:30pm Tonight
LAL
MIL
10:30pm Tonight
POR
OKC
Final
QUIN 73
SIENA 63
 
Final
CORN 57
HARV 49
 
Final
CAN 72
FAIR 65
 
Final
IONA 79
MAN 75
 
Final
BRO 75
PENN 69
 
Final
YALE 81
PRIN 60
 
Final
MAR 69
PETE 67
 
2nd
CLMB 43
DART 44
 
2nd
AKR 40
OHIO 35
 
10:00pm Tonight
CLST
VALPO
 
2nd Intermission
NJD 2
BOS 2
 
3rd
NYI 1
CAL 0
 
3rd
CAR 2
WAS 0
 
2nd Intermission
TAM 2
CHI 0
 
1st Intermission
DAL 0
COL 0
 
10:00pm Tonight
ANA
LOS