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Avs, Blackhawks kick off home-and-home in Denver

Dec 13, 2010 - 4:18 PM
(Sports Network) - Set to play six of their next seven games at the friendly Pepsi Center, the Colorado Avalanche open a home-and-home set this evening with the Chicago Blackhawks.

The Avalanche return to Denver after a 2-1-2 road trip. They lost the first three contests of the swing out east before rebounding with victories in Atlanta and Washington.

Colorado closed out the trip on Saturday in Washington, notching a 3-2 victory. Paul Stastny scored the game-winner midway through the second period while on the power play and also assisted on goals by Kevin Shattenkirk and Ryan Wilson.

Stastny's goal gave the Avs a two-goal edge, which proved big after the Capitals got the only goal of the third period. Craig Anderson was tested all game and made 40 saves, including 16 in the third period.

"I think it kind of changed the momentum, it was a big goal for us to get that two-goal lead," Stastny said. "Sometimes, we have a tendency to sit back when we have that lead, and that's what happened a little bit."

Shattenkirk also notched an assist for Colorado, which played without Milan Hejduk due to a groin injury suffered versus the Thrashers on Friday and lost Kyle Quincey to a shoulder injury against Washington.

The Avs have won four of their last five at home and are 7-4-1 at the Pepsi Center this season. They visit Chicago on Wednesday to wrap this set before returning home for five straight.

These two clubs haven't met since Colorado's 4-3 overtime victory on Oct. 7 in the season-opener for both clubs. Stastny scored a pair of goals, including the OT winner, for the first two scores of his career in 13 games versus the Blackhawks.

Chicago had taken three of four from Colorado a season ago, but has lost four of its last six in Denver.

The Blackhawks are 5-1-1 in their last seven games overall and are coming off a 2-1 overtime setback in San Jose on Saturday. Corey Crawford made 28 saves, but gave up the game-winning goal with 1:08 left in overtime to suffer his first loss in eight starts. It marked his first defeat since a regulation setback to Edmonton on Nov. 7.

Defenseman Jordan Hendry had Chicago's lone goal, his first of the season and fourth in 104 career games.

"It would have been a lot better with a victory, but of course you'll take a goal any way you can get it," Hendry said. "Would have been nice to win in overtime, though."

Chicago, which remains without forwards Patrick Kane (left ankle) and Marian Hossa (lower body), is 8-4-3 on the road this season and Wednesday's rematch with Colorado starts a five-game homestand.