The Chicago Blackhawks are in the middle of a three-game homestand that already saw them lose to the NHL's best offensive team, the Vancouver Canucks.
Tuesday's home game against does not get any easier as the Colorado Avalanche visit the United Center. The Avalanche currently lead the Central division while the Blackhawks are at the bottom.
Colorado is in the middle of its contention window while Chicago is in the early stages of an extensive rebuild. This is not the best time for the Hawks to be facing the Avalanche as the team has been ravaged by injuries.
Taylor Hall is out for the season. Defenseman Seth Jones is on injured reserve. The team's other top defenseman, Kevin Korchinski, is away from the team after the passing of his father. Alex Vlasic has been great this season on the blue line, but he missed the Vancouver game with an injury. Forward Joey Anderson was just placed on injured reserve.
The Hawks were not that talented to begin with. Now, they have a blue line you would expect to see in Rockford. They are so depleted that head coach Luke Richardson had to use five forwards on the power play against the Canucks due to not having a defenseman capable of effectively running the point.
Hey, the Chicago Blackhawks only allowed the Canucks to score four goals with a make-shift blue line. All you can ask is they give enough effort to make the Avalanche earn two points.
Colorado is coming into this game 4-4-2 over its past 10 games. Although, the Avalanche has won three of their past four games. During those three victories, the Avalanche scored 17 goals. Then again, those triumphs came against struggling teams like the Calgary Flames, Buffalo Sabres, and San Jose Sharks.
The Avalanche are still a team capable of winning the Stanley Cup with three players coming in on a hot streak.
He is coming off a two-goal performance against San Jose. MacKinnon has six goals and 12 assists this month. He is making a case to win the Hart Trophy as he is currently second in the NHL in points and first in assists.
He has three goals and nine assists over his past 10 games. Rantanen has 15 goals on the season to go with 24 assists.
He has six points over the past four games. Nichushkin scored two goals against the Sabres and added a goal against the Sharks. Two of his goals during this great four-game stretch came on the power play.
The Chicago Blackhawks are going to have their hands full with the league's third-best scoring attack. The Avalanche's offense is even more lethal lately with these three players on a heater offensively.