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Sliding Avalanche host showdown vs. Blackhawks

(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 10:51:33 ET

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Schedule

Sunday, April 20Full Scoreboard
Philadelphia «4Final | Box
NY Rangers2Rink Replay
Eastern Conference Quarterfinals, Game Two. Series tied, 1-1.
Detroit 4/20 3:00 PM ET
Boston @theRink | TV: NBC, TSN, RDS
Eastern Conference Quarterfinals, Game Two. Detroit leads series, 1-0.
Tampa Bay 4/20 7:00 PM ET
Montreal NBC, TSN
Eastern Conference Quarterfinals, Game Three. Montreal leads series, 2-0.
Los Angeles 4/20 10:00 PM ET
San Jose NBCSN, CBC, FSN-W
Western Conference Quarterfinals, Game Two. San Jose leads series, 1-0.
Full Scoreboard

Standings

2013 - 2014 NHL Eastern Conference Standings
 
Atlantic Division W L OTL Pts GF GA Home Away Div
p-Boston 54 19 9 117 261 177 31-7-3 23-12-6 18-9-3
x-Tampa Bay 46 27 9 101 240 215 25-10-6 21-17-3 19-8-3
x-Montreal 46 28 8 100 215 204 23-13-5 23-15-3 18-8-4
x-Detroit 39 28 15 93 222 230 18-13-10 21-15-5 17-8-5
Ottawa 37 31 14 88 236 265 18-17-6 19-14-8 14-9-7
Toronto 38 36 8 84 231 256 24-16-1 14-20-7 14-13-3
Florida 29 45 8 66 196 268 16-20-5 13-25-3 13-16-1
Buffalo 21 51 10 52 157 248 13-21-7 8-30-3 7-18-5
 
Metropolitan Division W L OTL Pts GF GA Home Away Div
y-Pittsburgh 51 24 7 109 249 207 28-9-4 23-15-3 20-8-2
x-NY Rangers 45 31 6 96 218 193 20-17-4 25-14-2 16-11-3
x-Philadelphia 42 30 10 94 236 235 24-14-3 18-16-7 15-11-4
x-Columbus 43 32 7 93 231 216 22-15-4 21-17-3 16-13-1
Washington 38 30 14 90 235 240 21-13-7 17-17-7 12-15-3
New Jersey 35 29 18 88 197 208 21-11-9 14-18-9 16-9-5
Carolina 36 35 11 83 207 230 18-17-6 18-18-5 15-13-2
NY Islanders 34 37 11 79 225 267 13-19-9 21-18-2 10-16-4
 
x= clinched playoff berth
y= clinched division title
z= clinched overall points title
2013 - 2014 NHL Western Conference Standings
 
Central Division W L OTL Pts GF GA Home Away Div
y-Colorado 52 22 8 112 250 220 26-11-4 26-11-4 19-6-3
x-St. Louis 52 23 7 111 248 191 28-9-4 24-14-3 21-6-2
x-Chicago 46 21 15 107 267 220 27-7-7 19-14-8 13-13-3
x-Minnesota 43 27 12 98 207 206 26-10-5 17-17-7 14-12-3
x-Dallas 40 31 11 91 235 228 23-11-7 17-20-4 13-11-5
Nashville 38 32 12 88 216 242 19-17-5 19-15-7 12-13-4
Winnipeg 37 35 10 84 227 237 18-17-6 19-18-4 9-15-5
 
Pacific Division W L OTL Pts GF GA Home Away Div
z-Anaheim 54 20 8 116 266 209 29-8-4 25-12-4 22-4-3
x-San Jose 51 22 9 111 249 200 29-7-5 22-15-4 18-7-3
x-Los Angeles 46 28 8 100 206 174 23-14-4 23-14-4 16-10-3
Phoenix 37 30 15 89 216 231 22-14-5 15-16-10 14-9-6
Vancouver 36 35 11 83 196 223 20-15-6 16-20-5 12-13-4
Calgary 35 40 7 77 209 241 19-19-3 16-21-4 11-15-3
Edmonton 29 44 9 67 203 270 16-22-3 13-22-6 8-17-4
 
x= clinched playoff berth
y= clinched division title
z= clinched overall points title
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Scoreboard
Local
12th
NOR 1
DUR 1
 
3:30pm Today
MIA
CHA
6th
CLE 2
TOR 4
 
6th
DET 1
ANA 1
 
6th
NYM 3
ATL 3
 
7th
MIA 1
SEA 2
 
5th
PIT 1
MIL 0
 
5th
WAS 0
STL 2
 
6th
TAM 0
NYY 1
 
3rd
KAN 0
MIN 2
 
3rd
CHC 0
CIN 0
 
3:05pm Today
TEX
CWS
4:05pm Today
OAK
HOU
4:10pm Today
LOS
ARI
4:10pm Today
COL
PHI
4:10pm Today
SDP
SFG
7:05pm Tonight
BOS
BAL
4th
SAN 69
DAL 73
 
3:30pm Today
MIA
CHA
7:00pm Tonight
CHI
WAS
9:30pm Tonight
HOU
POR
Final
NYR 2
PHI 4
 
3:00pm Today
BOS
DET
7:00pm Tonight
MON
TAM
10:00pm Tonight
SJS
LOS
12th
NOR 1
DUR 1