Division Rivals: Colorado Avalanche Vs Chicago Blackhawks


The Chicago Blackhawks are who the Colorado Avalanche want to be when they grow up — fast and offensive and a little dubious in the back end. The games between the two teams are always entertaining because they’re built so similarly.

Historically, the Avalanche have done pretty well against the Blackhawks. They often put up big games against their arch rivals. Indeed, a couple seasons ago the Avalanche would finish dead last in the Central Division. Yet they were able to stop the Blackhawks’ winning streak at the beginning of the season. This season was pretty successful as the Avs went 3-2 against the ‘Hawks.

November 26, 2014

As ineffective as the Colorado Avalanche’s power play was, especially early in the season, was how effective the Chicago Blackhawks’ was. Strangely the Blackhawks didn’t finish high in the NHL, but early on in the season their power play was top 10. The Avs always hovered around 29th.

We saw why in this late November game why. The Blackhawks got two power play goals, while the Avs blew two power play chances. To add insult to injury, Colorado was undisciplined, taking six penalties. In the end, Chicago winger Patrick Kane helped the ‘Hawks prevail 3-2.

December 27, 2014

Remember a couple years ago when the Blackhawks spanked the Avalanche right after Christmas? Yeah, it’s beginning to be a tradition no Avalanche fan wants to see cemented. They did it again last season, beating Colorado at home 5-2.

Patrick Kane went all showtime on the Avalanche, earning two goals and an assist. Special teams played a part again, with Chicago earning two power play goals and the Avs blowing three chances. (And once again taking too many penalties. The lone bright spots for the Avs were center Nathan MacKinnon and defenseman Erik Johnson, who both earned goals.

January 6, 2015

The Blackhawks didn’t beat the Avalanche once in 2015, and that’s pretty cool to think about. The Avs got strong in their play starting at the turn of the year, and this game was a good indication of what would prove successful. They came out strong, scored two goals in the first period, and protected the lead. They started out getting penalties but tightened up in that area, too.

The one area that was still weak was the shot differential — 45 to 24. Goalie Semyon Varlamov was the equal to the task, which was highly impressive. That allowed the Avs to win the game 2-0.

February 20, 2015

This game showed Colorado Avalanche hockey. The Avs were in the midst of their vow to shoot the puck, maintain possession in the neutral zone and keep their feet moving. Not only did it work, it helped them score not one but two power play goals!

The Avalanche earned 30 shots on goal and minimized the Blackhawks to 28 — which is pretty good for a team that had been averaging mid-30s on the shots. Three of their four goals came in the third period, allowing Colorado to take the game 4-1.

April 11, 2015

This was the best game of the five-game series. It may not have been as big a blowout as the February game, but it featured the most heart. The Avalanche hosted the Blackhawks for the last game of the season. The Avs already knew they weren’t making the playoffs and the Hawks were. However, Avalanche captain Gabriel Landeskog had promised that the players would do their best to win all three home games to finish the season, and that’s exactly what they did.

The Blackhawks were not apathetic about this game. They have enough playoff experience to know you can’t just flip a switch. The Avs kept taking the lead, and the Hawks kept tying the game. But then… Jarome Iginla won the game 3-2 in the best possible way — last second on the power play. It was the most upbeat ending to a disappointing season as possible.


The Colorado Avalanche didn’t exactly own the Chicago Blackhawks. However, by beating them three out of five times, the Avs showed they are the match of one of the strongest teams in the Central Division.

The Blackhawks are a stacked team with two Stanley Cups in their recent history and lots of playoff experience. They’ve got big names in Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane and Andrew Shaw. However, the Avalanche were able to match them.


The early losses were indicators of the problems that plagued them at the beginning of the season. Their game management was way off. However, once the Avs tightened up that aspect of their style, and they were rewarded against the Blackhawks. This should be a lesson to them that playing hockey with tight game management doesn’t have to lead to boring hockey.

Next: Division Rivals: St. Louis Blues

More from Mile High Sticking