When the Chicago Blackhawks were a perennial Stanley Cup contender, the Avalanche used to upset them at the United Center at least once a year. The difference this time around is, Colorado is no longer upsetting the Blackhawks—they’re dominating them.

Colorado outshot Chicago 19-6 in the first period, defeating the Blackhawks 4-1 to improve to 3-0 against their division rival on Wednesday night.

The Avalanche (21-9-3) improve to 6-5 in games against the Central Division.

Throughout the first period, the Blackhawks relied on Corey Crawford to keep them in the game. Colorado got the first goal on a shot Crawford would probably like to have back. Defenseman Ian Cole scored from the blue line off a slapshot, giving the Avs a 1-0 lead. The lead didn’t last long as Chicago answered back just over a minute later, as forward Ryan Carpenter scored from a sharp angle to beat Avs goaltender Pavel Francouz.

The game remained tied, despite the shot discrepancy, until almost midway through the second.

Center Nathan MacKinnon put the Avs back ahead almost eight minutes into the second after taking a pass from winger Mikko Rantanen and wristing it past Crawford top shelf to give the Avalanche a 2-1 lead.

Moments later, winger Andre Burakovsky did nearly the exact same thing, scoring on a wrist shot into the top corner to give Colorado a two-goal lead.

Rantanen added an empty-netter late in the third to seal the victory for the Avalanche.


Francouz continues his hot streak. Although there is an argument to be made that Francouz’s play is not a hot streak, but rather who he is on a consistent basis. After starting the season 2-2, albeit a small sample size, Francouz has now gone 8-0-1 in his last nine decisions.

He continues to lead the Avalanche in all goaltending categories as well as climb the NHL rankings. His .934 save percentage is third in the league and his 2.16 goals-against average ranks fourth.

MacKinnon adds another goal. Boston Bruins forward David Pastrnak and Buffalo Sabres center Jack Eichel are the only two players with more goals than MacKinnon. His 21 is tied for third in the league.

MacKinnon is the only player to rank in the top three in both goals and points, trailing only behind Edmonton Oilers forwards Connor McDavid and Leon Draistaitl for the Art Ross Trophy.

The top line was reunited, and each finished plus-3. Speaking of MacKinnon, Avs coach Jared Bednar decided it was time to put him back with both of his regular wingers in Gabe Landeskog and Rantanen. MacKinnon’s goal was assisted by Rantanen, Rantanen’s goal was assisted by Landeskog and the captain also set up the first goal from Cole.

Each of them finished +3, along with Cole and defenseman Nikita Zadorov to lead the way.

Colorado returns home for a matchup against the Carolina Hurricanes at 7 p.m. MST on Thursday.