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Blackhawks visit Avalanche in 2nd leg of back-to-back

The Blackhawks have a quick turnaround from Friday’s disappointment by facing the Avalanche on Saturday night. The second leg of a back-to-back might not be the ideal time to try to stem the tide from four losses in five games, but that’s the task in the thin air in Denver.

Chicago largely played well in a 2-1 loss to Nashville, but couldn’t convert at even strength or on the power play. The offense that looked quite good earlier this season has sputtered in recent games.

The Avalanche are coming off a 7-0 drubbing to the Golden Knights, so this may be a good opportunity for the Blackhawks even on the road. Colorado has lost four of its last five just like the Hawks, so this is a matchup between two teams looking to shake off some recent struggles.

It will also be a matchup between backup goaltenders because both teams played their starters on Friday. Jonathan Bernier, who has a .894 save percentage in three appearances, will be in net for Colorado. The Hawks will have Anton Forsberg, who has performed well with a .929 save percentage in his first two starts with the team.

The Avs may be better than a year ago, but they’ve merely improved from disastrous to mediocre. They’re currently 19th in goals for, 18th in goals against, 24th on the power play, and 24th on the penalty kill. They’re tied for 23rd in 5-on-5 Corsi, per Natural Stat Trick. Yes, they’re tied with the Blackhawks, so that’s not exactly a striking statement, but it goes to show that this is still a favorable matchup.

The Blackhawks could use a strong victory of their own to help shake off the stink of the past few losses. They were close against the Predators. Maybe it’ll go better Saturday against the Avalanche.

Projected lineups

Blackhawks

Position Players
F1 Brandon Saad – Jonathan Toews – Alex DeBrincat
F2 Richard Panik – Nick Schmaltz – Patrick Kane
F3 Patrick Sharp – Artem Anisimov – John Hayden
F4 Lance Bouma – Tommy Wingels – Ryan Hartman
D1 Duncan Keith – Jan Rutta
D2 Gustav Forsling – Brent Seabrook
D3 Michal Kempny – Connor Murphy
Goaltender Corey Crawford

Avalanche

Position Players
F1 Sven Andrighetto – Nathan MacKinnon – Mikko Rantanen
F2 Gabriel Landeskog – Matt Duchene – Nail Yakupov
F3 Matthew Nieto – Carl Soderberg – Blake Comeau
F4 A.J. Greer – Alexander Kerfoot – Rocco Grimaldi
D1 Anton Lindholm – Erik Johnson
D2 Patrik Nemeth – Tyson Barrie
D3 Mark Barberio – Andrei Mironov
Goaltender Jonathan Bernier

How to watch Blackhawks at Avalanche

Start time: 8 p.m. CT

Location: Pepsi Center, Denver

TV: NBC Sports Chicago

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