The Colorado Avalanche faced the Chicago Blackhawks Saturday night at Pepsi Center for the only meeting between the two teams before the new year. Both teams were playing on the tail-end of back-to-back games and both were looking to bounce back from a loss. The Avalanche won the contest by the score of 6-3.

After killing off the first power play of the game, the Avalanche were on the scoreboard first 3:24 into the first period. A turnover created by a big Nathan MacKinnon hit behind the net gave MacKinnon the puck who found Mikko Rantanen all alone in front of the Chicago goaltender Anton Forsberg. Rantanen put the puck in the far-side corner of the net over Forsberg’s glove, good for Rantanen’s second goal of the season.

On Colorado’s first power play of the game, the Blackhawks looked to score a shorthanded goal on a two-on-one opportunity. The puck rang off the post on Jonathan Bernier’s glove side, the Avalanche picked up the puck and began the rush the other way culminating in a Nathan MacKinnon goal, his first of the night. The goal came 15:20 into the period and would be good for MacKinnon’s second of the season.

Another power-play goal was scored by the Avalanche with 1.9 seconds left in the first period. Mikko Rantanen cleaned up a rebound and shot a backhand off of Forsberg from behind the net. Colorado started the night going two-for-two on the power play.

The Avalanche headed to the locker room leading by the score of 3-0 and leading in shots on goal as well 11-8.

The second period started with another Avalanche goal, putting them up 4-0. The play started from another turnover forced by MacKinnon in Colorado’s defensive zone and Gabe Landeskog carried the puck up-ice on a two-on-one and shot the puck on goal. Forsberg made the save, but Landeskog got the rebound and found a wide-open MacKinnnon who buried the puck in an open net.

Just over three minutes later, Sven Andrighetto scored a fifth goal for Colorado off of a designed faceoff play to Anton Forsberg’s right. Matt Duchene won the draw back to Tyson Barrie who found Rocco Grimaldi in the corner. Grimaldi quickly found Andrighetto in the slot who beat Forsberg stick-side. The goal would be Anton Forsberg’s final play of the evening as the Blackhawks substituted him for Corey Crawford.

The Blackhawks managed to score their first of the game at 7:53 into the second period. A bouncing puck found Blackhawks defenseman Michal Kempny on the point who then took a slap shot that was tipped by Nick Schmaltz and went through Jonathan Bernier’s five-hole. The Avalanche led 5-1.

Chicago scored again before the end of the period when a turnover in Colorado’s offensive zone created a two-on-one the other direction and Artem Anisimov walked in and beat Bernier blocker-side.

The shot count to end the period was 23-21 in favor of Colorado and the Avalanche headed in to the third period up 5-2.

Just over halfway through the third period Rocco Grimaldi tipped an Erik Johnson slap shot and scored his first goal of the year. Grimaldi’s two-point night Saturday came in his first NHL game of the season after being called up from San Antonio to replace a battered Gabriel Bourque who was injured Friday against the Vegas Golden Knights.

The final goal of the game came from Chicago with just 4:55 left to play. The goal came after Bernier looked to cover a loose puck around his net but couldn’t. As the puck squirted out and Bernier laid on his stomach, Chicago’s Ryan Hartman scored making it a 6-3 game.

Jonathan Bernier made 39 saves in his second victory of the year and the Avalanche move to 6-5-0.

The Avalanche have another four-day break between games and will face the Carolina Hurricanes Thursday evening at home.

Three Stars of the Game:

3. Jonathan Bernier (.929 Sv%, 3 GAA)

2. Mikko Rantanen (2 goals, 1 assist)

  1. Nathan MacKinnon (2 goals, 1 assist, 7 SOG)