TIME: 8 p.m. CT
TV: NBCSCH RADIO: WGN 720 ONLINE: NHL.TV
Chicago was able to secure two points on their last trip to Denver and they look for two more on Saturday night. The Blackhawks have managed to win four of their last five games and are coming off a 5-2 victory over Minnesota on Thursday evening.
Patrick Kane recorded a hat trick in that game, while Brandon Saad scored two of his own and goaltender Collin Delia made 46 saves. This is the final game of 2018 for Chicago, as they turn the page on New Year’s Day at the 2019 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic against Boston.
Kane leads the Blackhawks in scoring with 20 goals and 47 points through 39 games this season. Jonathan Toews is second on the team with 34 points (16G, 18A) through 40 outings. Alex DeBrincat continues his successful season as well with 17 goals and 32 total points in 40 games.
Between the pipes, Corey Crawford is still in concussion protocol, which means it’s a duo of Cam Ward and Delia. Ward has played in 17 games this season, going 6-6-4 with a 3.90 GAA and .886 save percentage. The young Delia has been stellar in his two starts, going 2-0-0 with a 1.50 GAA and .964 save percentage, stopping 81 of 84 shots faced.
Mikko Rantanen is Colorado’s leading scorer this season with 60 points (16G, 44A) through 38 games. Nathan MacKinnon isn’t far behind with 57 (22G, 35A). The Avalanche have six players with more than 20 points, and two with more than 20 goals. Gabriel Landeskog leads the team in lighting the lamp with 24 goals this season.
Between the pipes, Semyon Varlamov leads the way with a 2.79 GAA and .913 save percentage in 23 starts. He is 11-8-3.
As mentioned earlier, the Blackhawks had a good showing in Denver the first time this season. They beat the Avs 2-1 on Dec. 21, spurred by goals from Alex DeBrincat and Artem Anisimov, as well as 35 saves from Delia in his season debut.
They’ll meet again three more times after this one, in Chicago on Feb. 22, in Denver on March 23, then back in Chicago on March 24.
Marcus Kruger (concussion) was activated off IR on Friday, while Jacob Nilsson was re-assigned to Rockford.
Stay tuned for more lineup notes after morning skate.
OPPONENT TO WATCH:
Leading the way in goals scored for an offensively potent club is Gabriel Landeskog. With 24, he is just two shy of tying a career-high and there are plenty of games left to play.
December has been good to the forward. He has nine goals and six assists in 12 games during the month. The 2011 first-round pick has recorded 167 goals and 217 assists in 544 career NHL regular season games.