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Blackhawks take on slumping Avalanche

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Chicago closes out the calendar year in Denver.

Chicago Blackhawks v Colorado Avalanche Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images

The Blackhawks head to Denver to face the Avalanche in a Central Division showdown Saturday night at Pepsi Center.

The Hawks are coming off a 5-2 win against the Wild where they were outshot 48 to 20. Top goalie prospect, Collin Delia, stole the show with 46 stops to improve his record to 2-0 this season, goals against average to 1.50, and save percentage to .964. Patrick Kane worked some magic and netted his seventh career NHL hat trick in front of the United Center faithful. He is currently riding a six-game point streak where has five goals, two of which were game winners, five assists, 23 shots, and has averaged 20:41 minutes per game. Kane is pacing the Hawks with 20 goals on the season, followed by Alex DeBrincat (17), Jonathan Toews (16), and Brandon Saad (11), who tallied twice against the Wild. With Kane’s 20th goal of the season, he is now only two seasons away from tying Stan Mikita’s Blackhawks record of having 14 consecutive seasons with 20-plus goals.

Toews also hit another milestone in his Blackhawks career. With his two assists, Toews tied Pierre Pilote for 8th on the Hawks career assist list with 400.

The Hawks are starting to get on a desperately needed roll. They have won four out of their last five games and have converted on 5 out of their last 14 power play chances, which is a conversion rate of 35.7%. Against the Wild, the Hawks scored two power play goals during a game for the first time this year. They are the last team in the NHL to accomplish that this season. Delia is expected to get the starting nod after two straight impressive performances.

On the other hand, the Avs come into Saturday night’s clash on a three game losing streak, which started with a 2-1 loss to the Hawks last week. They then lost 6-4 to the Arizona Coyotes and 2-1 to the Vegas Golden Knights. The tough stretch has forced coach Jared Bednar to break up their dynamic first line of Landeskog - MacKinnon - Rantanen, who have been tearing it up since the first game of the season. Rantanen sits in second in the NHL with 60 points, while MacKinnon is just behind with 57 points. Landeskog is tied for third in the Rocket Richard trophy race with 24 goals. It will be interesting to see if Bernard sticks with breaking up the first line at puck drop, and if he does, will he move them back together during the game.

Injury Notes

CHI - Marcus Kruger activated off IR on Friday.

CHI - No updates on Corey Crawford. He is still in concussion protocol.

COL - Colin Wilson (C) on the IR with a shoulder injury. Considered week-to-week.

COL - Nikita Zadorov (D) has missed the last three games with a lower body injury. His status for Saturday is still questionable.

*Lines updated at 7:30 PM CDT during pre-game skate.

Blackhawks

Saad-Toews-Kahun

Anisimov-Strome-Kane

DeBrincat-Kampf-Sikura

Hayden-Kruger-Perlini

Keith — Gustafsson

Forsling — Seabrook

Dahlstrom — Murphy

Delia

Ward

Avalanche

Nieto-MacKinnon-Rantanen

Landeskog-Kerfoot-Compher

Calvert-Soderberg-Dries

Andrighetto-Jost-Bourque

Girard — Johnson

Barrie - Cole

Nemeth — Graves

Varlamov

Grubauer

How to Watch

Time: 8 p.m.

Location: Pepsi Center, Denver

TV: NBC Sports Chicago