Can the Blackhawks Leap Past the Avalanche Tomorrow?

2024 NHL All-Star Skills
2024 NHL All-Star Skills / Bruce Bennett/GettyImages

On leap day, February 29th, the Colorado Avalanche will travel to Chicago to take on the Blackhawks. Despite some major injuries (notably Gabriel Landeskog and Valeri Nichushkin) that have seen the Avs have some depth issues over the course of the year, they are indeed at the top of the standings in the league.

With the 7th highest points thus far (77pts in 60 games for a .642 pt. %) Colorado has leaned heavily on their 3 stars (MacKinnon, Rantanen, and Makar). MacKinnon, who could be a Hart Trophy finalst, has 98 points in said 60 games. Rantanen and Makar are also well above a point per game to round out one of the most skilled groups in the entire league.

Los Angeles Kings v Colorado Avalanche
Los Angeles Kings v Colorado Avalanche / Tyler Schank/Clarkson Creative/GettyImages

This will present a daunting task for a Blackhawks roster that is still trying to get back to a cohesive and healthy unit. For not just Avalance and Hawks fans, but hockey fans in general, Thursday night will represent an exciting opportunity to see the vaunted Avs forward lineup on the ice with Connor Bedard.

Even though Colorado is high up in the standings, their starting goaltender is playing average hockey this season. At just under 3gaa and an even .900 save %, Alexandar Georgiev doesn't categorize as one of the world's top net minders at the moment. Then there is the record discrepancy that the Avalanche have:

At home (Ball Arena) the Avs are: 23-6-0 which is the best home record in all of hockey. On the road however is a different story. As the visiting team this season, Colorado is just 13-13-5 for a .500 point % record. That gives Chicago a chance on leap day to perhaps steal a victory. Will they come through? That is yet to be determined.

Tune in for the national broadcast on ESPN tomorrow evening @9:00EST

MacKenzie Entwistle, Reese Johnson, Kevin Korchinski
Detroit Red Wings v Chicago Blackhawks / Patrick McDermott/GettyImages