Avalanche outlast Blackhawks in 5-3 victory

Credit: Kamil Krzynski, USA Today Sports.

Whenever the Avs and Blackhawks get together, dramatics ensue, but with valuable points towards a tight playoff race on the line, this game meant that much more.

After trading blows, the Avalanche outlasted the Blackhawks 5-3.

Colorado brought the momentum from their last game into the first period, pressuring the Blackhawks early and often. Seymon Varlamov saved every shot he faced in the frame, keeping Chicago off the board in the period.

No save was bigger for the Avalanche than Varlamov’s save on Patrick Kane at 3:59 of the period, which broke Sven Andrighetto out of the zone.

Andrighetto found Alexander Kerfoot breaking on the near side, who sprung Carl Soderberg on a breakaway. Soderberg beat Blackhawks goalie five-hole to break the tie and send the Avalanche into the first intermission up 1-0.

Chicago came out firing to start the second period, but Varlamov and the Colorado defense kept the puck out of the net for the first half of the period.

Tyson Barrie took a high sticking penalty on Brandon Saad, putting the Blackhawks on the powerplay, which has been hot as of late. Dylan Strome took advantage of shot wide of the net, that hit the end boards and popped into the slot right onto Strome’s stick.

After going 0-for-3 on the powerplay, JT Compher found the top left corner off a set faceoff play. Mikko Rantanen got the assist on Compher’s powerplay goal, once again giving Colorado the one-goal lead.

With just under 30 seconds left in the period, Johnathan Toews found Kane in front for a wide open net, sending the two teams tied into the second intermission.

There was clear urgency in both teams from the first puck drop, as the hitting and speed increased. After a hard-fought shift from Compher, forcing a turnover, the Avalanche found the back of the net to break the tie yet again. Gabe Landeskog rifled a shot to the far top right corner.

Rantanen was called for holding, allowing Alex DeBrincat to capitalize on a rebound shot from the point, tieing the game at 3-3 with half the period to go.

After some sustained pressure from Chicago and a few big saves from Varlamov, Patrik Nemeth intercepted a pass and found a streaking Compher on a breakaway. Compher hit the crossbar on the first try, but the puck bounced off of Collin Delia’s left skate and into the net, for his second of the game.

Carl Soderberg would add a shorthanded empty-net goal to finalize the score at 5-3. Varlamov finished the game with 41 saves of the 44 shots he faced.

The Colorado Avalanche return to action again tomorrow on the road against the Nashville Predators. Puck drop is set for 3:30 p.m. MT from Bridgestone Arena.

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