Avalanche-Blackhawks Preview

The Chicago Blackhawks are looking to rebound after a late-game

collapse. They might have star forward Marian Hossa available to

help them do so.

The Blackhawks try for a season high-tying third consecutive

victory at the United Center when they finish a home-and-home set

with the Colorado Avalanche on Wednesday night.

Chicago led Colorado 5-4 with 2:24 remaining Monday, but Corey

Crawford allowed the equalizer to Tomas Fleischmann and gave up a

goal to Matt Duchene a minute later. The Avalanche added an

empty-netter in a stunning 7-5 victory.

“It was one of those games that got away from you, and you feel

like you got kicked in the guts,” Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville

said. “Three, four minutes left you have a one-goal lead, whether

you deserve it or not we still have to find a way to get something

out of the game. That’s why it leaves such a bitter taste.”

Crawford made 17 saves after replacing Marty Turco 40 seconds

into the second period. Turco struggled again in his first action

in 10 days, stopping six of 10 shots.

“It’s brutal. I don’t think anyone wants to lose like that,”

said Crawford, who was seeking his eighth win in nine games. “Wow.

Just fall apart in the last two minutes there.”

Crawford is likely to be back in goal against Colorado as his

team goes for its fifth win in six home games. He would be trying

for his fifth straight victory on home ice after losing his first

four starts at the United Center.

The Blackhawks would love to have Hossa in the lineup they go

for a split of the home-and-home set, and he could play Wednesday

after missing six straight games with a lower-body injury. Hossa

has recorded six goals and three assists in his last six meetings

with the Avalanche, including one of each during Colorado’s 4-3

overtime win in the teams’ season opener Oct. 7.

Winger Patrick Kane is unlikely to join him in a return. Out

since Dec. 5 with an injured ankle, Kane is expected to miss at

least the rest of the week.

Bryan Bickell recorded his third goal in four contests for the

Blackhawks (16-13-3) on Monday after scoring four in his first 25

contests.

Chicago has gone 5-1-0 in its last six home matchups with

Colorado (16-10-4).

The Avalanche, though, have won three straight, thanks in part

to Craig Anderson. The former Blackhawk gave up two goals in each

of the first two victories before allowing at least five goals for

the second time this season Monday.

“Sweeps everything else under the rug,” Anderson said of the

victory. “I could be better; I’ve got to make some first-shot

saves. At the same time, our guys did a great job of clawing away

to win.”

Anderson is 3-0-2 with a 3.01 goals-against average against the

Blackhawks. Backup Peter Budaj has gone 3-1-0 with a 2.25 GAA in

four starts at Chicago, allowing one goal in each of the three

wins.

Colorado’s Milan Hejduk, tied for the team lead with 31 points,

was held out for the second night in a row with a groin injury and

his status for Wednesday is uncertain.

Paul Stastny did his best to make up for Hejduk’s absence,

scoring for the third consecutive game and adding two assists to

extend his point streak to five games. He has four goals and five

assists in that stretch.

Stastny recorded two goals, the second coming in overtime, when

the teams met in October.