Game Preview: Blackhawks vs Colorado Avalanche 2/7/12

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8 PM Pepsi Center, Denver, CO

TV: Comcast Sports Net Chicago

Radio: 720 AM WGN

Tonight is the fourth and final meeting between the Blackhawks and the Colorado Avalanche.  The Avalanche have been a pain in the neck for the Hawks the last two seasons.  The Avs took 3 out of 4 last season and have won 2 out of the first 3 games so far this year.  The last time we saw the Avs, on Jan 6th, the Blackhawks failed to score a goal in a 4-0 defeat.  Both teams enter tonight on a 5 game winless streak, so something has to give.

The Avalanche are coming off a heart breaking loss to the Vancouver Canucks.  Colorado had a 2-1 lead but the Canucks tied the game with 34 seconds left and went on to win in a shootout.  Jean-Sabastien Giguere will get the start in net for the Avs tonight.  This could be a break since Semyon Varlamov has started all 3 games against the Hawks and has posted a 1.96 goals against average and a .936 save percentage.  Gabriel Landeskog enters tonight with a 6 game point streak and already has 2 goals against the Blackhawks this year.

We all know the struggles the Blackhawks have had in the last few weeks.  Tonight is a huge game for the Hawks.  Not only would it be a shot in the arm, but the Red Wings lost last night and Nashville and St Louis have tough games tonight against Vancouver and Ottawa respectively.  This is a chance to gain two points on the first place Wings and possibly on everyone else too.

Ray Emery will get the start in goal tonight, which shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone.  Coach Q has done some line juggling for this game, which again should not be a surprise.  Andrew Shaw will get a shot at the top line with Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane.  Dave Bolland is now your 2nd line center between Patrick Sharp and Marian Hossa.  Brendan Morrison is down to the 3rd line with Marcus Kruger and Viktor Stalberg as his wingers.  I hope he remembered his English to Swedish dictionary!  The 4th line with have Bryan Bickell, Jamal Mayers and Michael Frolik.  Andrew Brunette skated with the team this morning and is listed as a game time decision.  If he is a go, my guess is he is will skate for either Bickell or Frolik on the 4th line.

Don’t forget to follow me on Twitter if you like what you’ve been reading.  My account is @SAMotherPucker.  Lets go Hawks!!


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