|1:00 PM PT2:00 PM MT3:00 PM CT4:00 PM ET21:00 GMT5:00 2:00 PM MST4:00 PM EST1:00 UAE (+1)16:00 ET19:00 BRT, November 29, 2019
United Center, Chicago, Illinois Attendance: 21,822
Ailing Avalanche take on improving Blackhawks
When the week started, the Colorado Avalanche thought things were looking up on the injury front. Mikko Rantanen and Gabriel Landeskog were skating, and Rantanen's return was imminent.
Two games later Rantanen and Landeskog haven't returned, and the Avalanche have lost a couple of more key pieces heading into a home-and-home set with the Chicago Blackhawks. Forward Andre Burakovsky, second on the team in goals, left Wednesday's game with an upper-body injury and won't make the trip to Chicago for Friday afternoon's game.
The Avalanche recalled forwards A.J. Greer and Sheldon Dries from the Colorado Eagles of the American Hockey League for Friday's game, filling out an injury-plagued roster. In addition to Rantanen and Landeskog, forwards Colin Wilson and Matt Calvert, as well as defenseman Erik Johnson are all sidelined.
"Missing like 10 forwards it feels like, and then EJ going down, it's been crazy," center Nathan MacKinnon said after a 4-1 win over Edmonton on Wednesday night. "Boys are dropping like flies right now. We just need to keep weathering the storm until we get healthy. We know we're a hell of a team, we started the season 7-0-1 for a reason. We have to play a little more defensively and be patient."
The good news is Rantanen is likely to play when the teams meet again Saturday night in Denver. Rantanen was off to a hot start to the season before a lower-body injury sidelined him for the last 15 games.
Chicago is also dealing with some injuries. Forward Dylan Strome has entered the concussion protocol after he was a late scratch for Tuesday's win against the Dallas Stars. The Blackhawks have also recalled forward Anton Wedin from Rockford of the AHL and moved Drake Caggiula to long-term injured reserve.
Caggiula has been out with a concussion dating back to last February but has begun skating. He is eligible to be come off the injured list Dec. 5.
The Blackhawks have surged over their last 10 games, going 6-2-2 after starting the season 4-7-3. They just completed a home-and-home against the Stars, winning one and losing the other in a shootout, and have some momentum going into the two games against Colorado.
The Avalanche will face both of Chicago's goaltenders but won't have more of an advantage against one over the other. Corey Crawford and Robin Lehner are platooning, and the arrangement is working out well for both. Crawford has a .941 save percentage in his last seven starts, and Lehner is at .939 over seven games, six of them starts.
The two of them combined to stop 72 of 73 shots in the two games against Dallas.
"Certainly it gives us the confidence that we know they're going to make the save for us if we need one," Blackhawks coach Jeremy Colliton said this week. "That's important. I think it helps you to play better defensively actually, just knowing that if you make a mistake, it's not necessarily going to go in. It's important for our team."
With Crawford getting a 32-save shutout Tuesday chances are Lehner will be in net Friday.
--Field Level Media
Updated November 28, 2019