The Blackhawks’ 5-2 victory Thursday in Dallas was only the third time this season they have won back-to-back games, and first time since Oct. 23-25. Each time Chicago has won back-to-back games it has given up seven goals in a loss when they tried to go for three consecutive wins.
The first time the Blackhawks went for three straight victories they fell 7-6 in overtime to Toronto at home with Cam Ward in net. Ward was given the start on the heels of a back-to-back despite Anton Forsberg being ready to give him a night off.
Coach Jeremy Colliton will have a similar decision Friday, with backup Collin Delia. Chicago recalled Delia on an “emergency basis” from the AHL after Corey Crawford was placed on injured reserve for his second concussion in less than a year. Ward has won both games since Crawford landed on IR.
When Delia was called up his .933 save percentage led the AHL and his 2.34 goals-against average was tied for third through 17 games.
Delia made his NHL debut March 29 against the Jets in Chicago after Forsberg was injured while warming up before the game. Delia made 25 saves before leaving with a 6-2 lead at 5:59 of the third period due to cramping.
The next night, Delia allowed five goals on 36 shots against the Avalanche in Denver.
Colorado will be shorthanded on defense as Nikita Zadorov suffered a lower-body injury in Wednesday’s 2-1 win over Montreal. That still doesn’t mean that the Avs’ lineup isn’t terrifying, as the top line of Mikko Rantanen, Nathan McKinnon and Gabriel Landeskog are scoring machines.
Rantanen and MacKinnon are 1-2, respectively, in scoring in the NHL, and Landeskog leads the team with 23 goals. MacKinnon is riding a seven-game point streak with two goals and 10 helpers in that span.
Philipp Grubauer will make his second straight start for the Avs, who are 2-1 during their current homestand. Grubauer is 8-0-3 in his past 11 starts. He made 35 saves Wednesday in Colorado’s 2-1 win against Montreal.
Chicago is 25-41-6 overall in Denver, with losses in its last three outings at the Pepsi Center.
*Lines are based on Thursday’s game
Saad — Toews — Kahun
Strome — Anisimov — Kane
DeBrincat — Kampf — Sikura
Hayden — Johnson — Perlini
Keith — Gustafsson
Forsling — Seabrook
Dahlstrom — Murphy
Landeskog — MacKinnon — Rantanen
Compher — Kerfoot — Wilson
Nieto — Soderberg — Calvert
Andrighetto — Jost — Bourque
Girard — Johnson
Cole — Barrie
Nemeth — Alt
How to Watch
Time: 8 p.m.
Location: Pepsi Center, Denver
TV: NBC Sports Chicago-Plus