Colorado Avalanche Face the Chicago Blackhawks


Tonight is another big central division contest for the Colorado Avalanche, and the crowd should be jumping because it’s New Year’s Eve!

There’s nothing quite like a game on New Year’s Eve, it’s always packed in the Pepsi Center, and Colorado Avalanche fans seem to be a little bit louder as well.

Since it’s an early contest too, it provides a nice opportunity for a great set up to a New Year’s night that can’t end until midnight, when 2016 will strike, and a new year will begin.

So, let’s get ready for a fun contest tonight between the Blackhawks and the Avs.

Game Notes

— Puck Drop is at 6:00 PM Mountain time tonight. Like I said, it’s an early contest, and hopefully a fun one to watch.

— The Colorado Avalanche come into this game 6-1-1 in their last eight games, which is pretty fancy. They also sport a 7-2 record against the Central Division.

— The Chicago Blackhawks come into this game 5-3 in their last eight games, not so bad. They’re Central Division record is not so good however, at 4-6-1.

— The Colorado Avalanche have been dominating the Chicago Blackhawks of late, especially Semyon Varlamov who will be looking for his 9th straight win against the Hawks.

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— The Chicago Blackhawks are coming off a 7-5 win against the Arizona Coyotes, and they were able to net 3/4 power plays in that game.

— That does sound quite familiar indeed, as the Colorado Avalanche are coming off of a 6-3 win against the San Jose Sharks in which they scored on 4/6 power-play opportunities.

Both teams are coming to this game with great victories in which they scored a ton of goals; although, Chicago will certainly want to limit the Colorado Avalanche to much fewer goals just because Varly is in net.

Speaking of players with a lot of skill such as Semyon Varlamov, let’s check out some other players on the ice tonight.

Players to Watch

— Patrick Kane. Watch him. Despite being scoreless in his last outing against the Avalanche — which was also the one where his point streak ended — he now has 53 points on the season, and he’ll want revenge.

— Well Nathan MacKinnon is coming off of a hat trick, and hopefully he’s back in his groove. He now has 33 points on the season, and is leading a group of players that are contributing by committee in the point category.

— Corey Crawford is expected to start the game tonight, and if that is the case then he will be playing in his ninth straight contest. He’s having a good year for the Hawks with a .923 save percentage, 2.31 GAA, and a league leading 5 shutouts.

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— Semyon Varlamov is a bit off form this year, but he’s been phenomenal lately — excusing that Toronto game. Anyway, his numbers this year aren’t worth mentioning, but he is 11-3 against the Hawks with a 1.80 GAA, a .949 save percentage, and 3 shutouts.

— No line-up changes tonight for the Colorado Avalanche besides Semyon Varlamov, who will start in tonight’s contest.

That’s all I’ve got in the way of which players to watch, but thankfully Gabe Landeskog was able to return to the game on Monday. He will be wearing that larger visor that Alex Tanguay has worn ever since taking a puck to the face from Alex Ovechkin, for the next few games.

What to Expect

I expect a high-flying contest tonight on account of an extremely loud building because Chicago fans travel very well (and love Colorado), and Colorado Avalanche fans will be excited for another Central Division showdown. Oh, and it’s New Year’s…

This is a game where both goalies could get exposed, but hopefully Varly is up to his usual tricks against the Hawks, and back-stops the Avs with a strong performance.

I’m expecting another big game from Nathan MacKinnon. He’s looked on the edge of a big streak for quite some time, and he’ll be ready to start scoring goals with regularity again.

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Patrick Kane is coming off a huge game against the Coyotes where he also notched 3 points (1G, 2A), so he’ll need the attention of our shut-down trio.

Which still includes Carl Soderberg and Blake Comeau, but Andreas Martinsen is playing with Matt Duchene and John Mitchell now? And, Gabe Landeskog is with his fellow swede Soderberg?

That happened against the Sharks, but it could have just been some in-game changes, even though they basically lasted the entire game. Anyway, keep an eye on it throughout the game.

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Cheers to a New Year folks, the next time you’ll see my ink to the page will be when 2016 has just begun. I hope you guys enjoy the eve, and if you’re going to the game have a grand ‘ol time. Go Avs!

What’s it to ya Avs fans? What do you think will happen to Varly’s streak against the Hawks tonight? Will MacK continue putting goals in, or at least helping others put goals in? Will the Avs stop Patrick Kane again? Let us know in the comments!