Final SO

Series (Game 1 of 4)

Chicago leads 3-1

Game 1: Saturday, October 10th
Game 2: Friday, November 6th
Game 3: Wednesday, November 11th
Game 4: Friday, April 9th

Avalanche 3

(2-1-1, 5 pts)

Blackhawks 4

(2-1-1, 5 pts)

8:30 PM ET, October 10, 2009

United Center, Chicago, Illinois

1 2 3 SO T
COL 0 3 0 03
CHI 1 2 0 14

K. Versteeg (Blackhawks - RW): Goals: 0, Assists: 2

K. Quincey (Avalanche - D): Goals: 0, Assists: 2

D. Keith (Blackhawks - D): Goals: 1, Assists: 0

Avalanche-Blackhawks Preview


Last season, the Chicago Blackhawks' strong play at home helped them end a lengthy playoff drought and make a memorable run to the Western Conference finals.

As they attempt to build on that breakthrough campaign, the Blackhawks play their first game at the United Center on Saturday night against the Colorado Avalanche, who will try to play spoiler with help from an area native.

Chicago earned 56 of its 104 points at home in 2008-09 and made the postseason field for the first time in seven years. The Blackhawks also won six of eight playoff games at the United Center en route to their first conference finals appearance since 1995.

The start of this season took Chicago (1-1-1) to Finland, where it split two games with Florida, and back to Detroit, where the Blackhawks fell 3-2 in Thursday night's rematch of the West finals.

Patrick Sharp scored for the third straight game in the second period, but Chicago couldn't add to its lead despite a two-man advantage that lasted nearly two minutes. That opened the door for the Red Wings to score three straight goals, and Chicago couldn't find the equalizer after Kris Versteeg's goal with 9:36 remaining.

"If you don't score in a 5 on 3, you generally don't win," coach Joel Quenneville said. "We did everything but win. ... The only place we got beat tonight was the board, which is where it counts."

After impressive home victories over San Jose and Vancouver, the Avalanche suffered a disappointing 3-2 defeat at Nashville on Thursday night that started a season-high seven-game road trip.

Marek Svatos gave Colorado (2-1-0) a one-goal lead 7:44 into the third period, but the Predators' Patric Hornqvist scored twice in the next seven-plus minutes.

"When you have a 2-1 lead on the road in the third period ... that's a hard one to swallow," first-year Avalanche coach Joe Sacco said.

The loss is also the only blemish on Craig Anderson's record so far. The former Blackhawks goaltender is among the league leaders with a 1.69 goals-against average and a .955 save percentage.

Anderson, a native of Park Ridge, Ill., is expected to face his hometown team for the first time.

Colorado's offense will look to take advantage of shaky Chicago goaltender Cristobal Huet.

Huet, who lost his starting job last season to Nikolai Khabibulin, has a 2.93 GAA and .872 save percentage in two games. Blackhawks backup Antti Niemi recorded a shutout against the Panthers on Oct. 3.

The Avalanche scored a league-low 190 goals last season and finished with a Western Conference-low 69 points, but they have 10 goals through three games, with Wojtek Wolski's three leading the way.

Wolski had two goals and two assists as the Avalanche split four games with Chicago last season, winning the last two.