Denver, CO (SportsNetwork.com) - Semyon Varlamov stopped 37 shots to record
his 100th career victory, as Colorado slipped past Chicago 3-2, at Pepsi
Matt Duchene and Ryan O'Reilly picked up a goal and assist each for the
Avalanche, winners in six of their last seven to vault over their Wednesday
opponents into second place in the Central Division.
Brad Malone added a tally as Colorado won four of five in the season series
from the defending Stanley Cup champions.
"As a team we expected them to come hard the later it got. There's still a
long way to go," said Avalanche captain Gabriel Landeskog of his club's
opponent. "Tonight was a huge win, and we certainly sent a message. We're not
going to give them anything."
Patrick Kane and Brandon Saad scored for the Blackhawks, who saw a two-game
win streak halted. Antti Raanta made 26 saves in defeat.
The Avs went up by a 3-1 count during a 5-on-3 power play, as Duchene fired
from the outer edge of the right circle and O'Reilly tucked home the rebound
in front at 10:53.
Raanta was pulled for an extra skater with more than 2 1/2 minutes remaining,
and the move paid off one shift later as Saad's rolling shot inside the left
post to make it a one-goal contest.
He went to the bench once more shortly after the ensuing faceoff, but Varlamov
only needed to make one quality save, on a long shot up the middle from Saad,
in the closing seconds.
"This is another frustrating loss for our team. Varlamov is a talented
goaltender, and we haven't found a way to get pucks past him," said Blackhawks
captain Jonathan Toews. "We have not matched their intensity and we have much
more to show against this team."
Malone earned his first of the season and sent the Avs to intermission up 1-0,
when his low shot from the left wing near the boards eluded Raanta at 18:24.
"It was a controlled break. I got some speed along the wall, got the
chip and then just shot it. I'm glad it went in," noted Malone. "We have run
that play in practice and tonight we got a good bounce on it. There's
something very special here and I'm proud to be a part of it."
Colorado led by two at the 19-second mark of the middle frame on Duchene's
22nd of the season, but Chicago responded in the person of Kane, who moved
around Avs defenseman Jan Hejda on the right wing and beat Varlamov with a
backhander to the near post at 8:23.
Varlamov's overall record with Colorado stands at 70-57-11, and his season
mark improved to 33-12-5 ... Paul Carey made his NHL debut for the Avalanche,
a two-time NCAA title winner (2010, '12) at Boston College ... Malone's only
other score occurred against Calgary on Apr. 8, 2013.