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NHL Preview from The Sports Network



Tuesday, November 19th (All times Eastern)

Chicago Blackhawks (14-3-4) at Colorado Avalanche (14-5-0), 9 p.m.

(SportsNetwork.com) - Trying to break out of slump against the defending Stanley Cup champions is one thing, but it becomes much more difficult when trying to do so without your leading scorer.

The Colorado Avalanche, minus forward Matt Duchene, try to snap a season-high, three-game slide on Tuesday night as they play host to the Chicago Blackhawks.

The Avalanche hadn't lost back-to-back games this season before their current losing streak and they have also dropped four of six since their 12-1-0 start. It marks a big test for rookie head coach Patrick Roy as the club tries to prove its fast start wasn't a fluke.

That may be tough to do tonight given that Duchene is out with an oblique strain suffered in Saturday's 4-1 setback to the Florida Panthers. The Avs are hoping the ailment only sidelines the 22-year-old for a week as he leads the team with 12 goals and 20 points.

Ryan O'Reilly had a goal in Saturday's loss, while Semyon Varlamov allowed all four Florida scores on 33 shots faced.

Colorado fell to 8-3-0 at home on the season.

"Effort is not a problem with this team. It was focus and we made poor decisions," said Roy.

The Blackhawks made a lot of poor decisions themselves in a 7-2 thumping at the hands of the Nashville Predators on Saturday night, but bounced back one day later with a solid 5-1 victory over the San Jose Sharks.

Patrick Sharp led the way with two goals -- one on a penalty shot -- and Corey Crawford stopped 23 shots as Chicago moved to 8-1-1 in its past 10 games.

"It was a good response after a tough game (Saturday) in Nashville. I thought we came out right from the start of the game with better speed and winning more 1-on-1 battles than last night and it resulted in a better outcome," said Sharp.

Captain Jonathan Toews scored the first of three Blackhawks goals in the third period that broke the game open and Patrick Kane had an assist on Brandon Pirri's first-period tally, extending his point streak to seven straight (4 goals, 6 assists).

Kris Versteeg had a goal and an assist in his return to Chicago. Versteeg was a member of Chicago's Cup-winning 2010 club before getting dealt that summer. He was reacquired from Florida on Thursday.

"It was emotional coming back, for myself," said Versteeg. "(Saturday) night definitely wasn't the way I saw coming back in my head, but tonight was very exciting. The guys put in a big effort, and obviously we've got to keep that going into a big road trip."

Versteeg was referencing a seven-game swing that begins with this contest. Chicago hopes to have forward Marian Hossa available on the trip as he has missed the past two games with a lower-body injury.

The Blackhawks don't play at home again until Dec. 3.

The 'Hawks won two of three versus the Avalanche last season and this is the first of five meetings between this new division rivals in 2013-14. Colorado joined Chicago in the new-look Central Division under realignment.

The Avs have won six of their last nine at home versus the Blackhawks and Varlamov is 3-3-0 with a 2.64 goals against average in six career meetings with Chicago.

Crawford has gone 2.4-1 with a 3.14 GAA in seven games versus Colorado, including six starts.

11/19 10:32:59 ET

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Scoreboard
Local
7:00pm Tonight
BUF
CAR
 
Final
NYY 5
BAL 0
Final
CLE 0
KAN 2
Final
TOR 14
SEA 4
Final
DET 0
CWS 2
Final
ATL 0
PIT 1
Final
TEX 4
HOU 3
Final
CHC 0
STL 8
Final
MIN 2
ARI 6
Final
OAK 8
ANA 4
Final
SDP 1
COL 0
Final
LOS 2
SFG 5
 
7:05pm Tonight
NYY
BAL
 
7:05pm Tonight
CLE
KAN
7:05pm Tonight
WAS
NYM
 
7:07pm Tonight
TOR
SEA
 
7:08pm Tonight
DET
CWS
 
7:10pm Tonight
CIN
MIL
 
7:10pm Tonight
MIA
PHI
 
7:10pm Tonight
ATL
PIT
 
7:10pm Tonight
BOS
TAM
 
8:05pm Tonight
TEX
HOU
 
8:05pm Tonight
CHC
STL
 
8:10pm Tonight
MIN
ARI
 
10:05pm Tonight
OAK
ANA
 
10:10pm Tonight
SDP
COL
 
10:10pm Tonight
LOS
SFG
 
Final
NYI 3
OTT 2
 
6:00pm Monday
NYI
OTT
 
Final
PIT 1
DET 2
Final
NYR 4
NJD 5
Final
PHI 2
TOR 3
 
Final
PHI 5
WAS 4
Final
WIN 2
MIN 1
Final
DAL 4
STL 3
Final
COL 2
ANA 5
Final
ANA 4
COL 0
Final
ARI 5
LOS 4
Final
LOS 4
ARI 3
7:00pm Tonight
BUF
CAR
 
7:00pm Tonight
CLB
PIT
 
7:30pm Tonight
MON
BOS
 
7:30pm Tonight
TAM
NAS
 
7:30pm Tonight
TOR
PHI
 
8:30pm Tonight
CHI
DET
 
9:00pm Tonight
VAN
SJS
 
10:00pm Tonight
ANA
ARI
 
10:30pm Tonight
SJS
VAN
 
Final
NYJ 19
CHI 27