Two third-period penalties provided a big opportunity for the Colorado Avalanche, and Tyson Barrie and company made the most of their chance for a valuable road win.
Barrie had two goals and an assist, Gabriel Landeskog scored for the fifth straight game, and the Avalanche beat the Chicago Blackhawks 4-1 on Friday night.
Article continues below ...
"Those were two big points," Barrie said. "We know what position we’re in and we know we’ve got to win a lot of hockey games. I thought we played a great game and it was nice to get that power play going."
The teams were tied at 1 when Niklas Hjalmarsson and Patrick Sharp were sent off for interference at 10:44 of the third, giving Colorado a 5-on-3 power play. The Avalanche quickly took advantage, with Landeskog tipping in a nice pass from Ryan O’Reilly.
Hjalmarsson then left the box, but Barrie scored from the slot to make it 3-1 at 11:29. Barrie has five goals and an assist in seven games this month.
"It’s not often that you see two calls being made on the same whistle, but we felt like it was a must for us to score and we did," Landeskog said. "And back to back it was big for us to kind of loosen up a little bit."
Brad Stuart added his second goal of the season when goaltender Corey Crawford badly misplayed his dump in from center ice, punctuating a frustrating performance for the Blackhawks.
"A 5-on-3 for 2 minutes in a 1-1 hockey game at home is tough to see," Chicago coach Joel Quenneville said.
Semyon Varlamov had 27 saves for Colorado, which had lost of five of seven. Landeskog also had an assist.
Kris Versteeg scored in the second period for Chicago, which dropped to 2-1-3 on its eight-game homestand. Crawford finished with 26 stops.
"Tonight we just fell off the horse," captain Jonathan Toews said.
Barrie made a couple of nice plays to help the Avalanche get off to a solid start.
First, he picked off a pass by Blackhawks defenseman Brent Seabrook at the blue line and beat Crawford with a high shot on the stick side for his eighth goal at 12:52. The defenseman then tied up Patrick Kane on a prime scoring opportunity for Chicago with 3:34 left in the period.
"He’s just playing solid hockey," Colorado coach Patrick Roy said. "Tonight was a really solid performance by him. I mean he was very sharp."
Versteeg was unable to connect on a couple of solid chances in the first, and then chipped a tooth when he skated into Stuart’s high stick in the second. There was no call on the play, but Versteeg got his revenge with 10:55 left in the period.
Blackhawks defenseman Michal Rozsival shot the puck behind the Colorado net, and Brad Richards then passed it in front to unmarked Versteeg, who beat Varlamov for his third goal in the last four games — running his season total to 12.
The Avalanche had a chance to go in front again when Landeskog drove to the net with 5 1/2 minutes left in the second, but his shot went just wide. Landeskog was slashed by Hjalmarsson on the play, but Chicago killed off the ensuing power play.
"We were definitely in that hockey game," Crawford said. "We did a lot of good things, and definitely let it go. To let these slip away, it’s frustrating."
NOTES: Varlamov improved to 6-0 with a 1.25 goals-against average and a .969 save percentage in seven games against Chicago over the past two seasons. … Blackhawks D Trevor van Riemsdyk skated with the team on Friday morning for the first time since the rookie had left knee surgery in November. "We’ll take it day by day, but significant progress this week and the fact that he got injected into practice today was a good sign as well," Quenneville said. … The Avalanche scratched C Daniel Briere and D Stefan Elliott. … F Daniel Carcillo and Ds David Rundblad and Tim Erixon were inactive for the Blackhawks.