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Rivalry Night on NBCSN: Will Avs end Blackhawks streak?

Mar 6, 2013, 8:04 AM EDT

Gabriel Landeskog #92 of the Colorado Avalanche skates against the Los Angeles Kings at the Pepsi Center on January 22, 2013 in Denver, Colorado. The Avalanche defeated the Kings 3-1.
(January 21, 2013 - Source: Doug Pensinger/Getty Images North America) Getty Images

Throughout the season, NBCSN will feature the NHL’s fiercest rivalries on Wednesday nights. Tonight the Colorado Avalanche will head to the United Center for a match against the Chicago Blackhawks at 8:00 p.m. ET.

This is a game Colorado Avalanche captain Gabriel Landeskog has been looking forward to for over a month.

Back when Chicago’s points streak was still in his infancy, Landeskog turned to Paul Stastny and asked him, “When do we play Chicago?”

“Now there is only one more game in between and then it’s up to us and we could have a chance to end that streak,” Landeskog told before Chicago’s 5-3 victory against Chicago on Tuesday. “To be honest, I want them to win Tuesday night and we want to be the team that goes in there and puts an end to that.”

Well, Landeskog got his wish.

Chicago’s point streak is not only by far the longest that anyone has ever mustered to start a season, it’s the second longest of all-time at 29 consecutive games (dating back to last season). On top of that, if the Blackhawks beat the Avalanche tonight, it will mean that they powered through the entire first half of their schedule without a single regulation loss.

The Colorado Avalanche seem like an unlikely group to end Chicago’s historic run given their 8-9-4 record, but there are reasons for the Blackhawks to be worried.

First off, Landeskog is back from a head injury and has had five games to shake off the rust. Ryan O’Reilly has also gotten two games under his belt after finally re-signing as a restricted free agent.

Starting goaltender Semyon Varlamov has been inconsistent lately, but he held the Blackhawks to just six goals in three starts last season.

It would still be impossible to paint the Avalanche as anything other than huge underdogs, but sooner or later one of these underdogs will get the better of Chicago in regulation. After all, Chicago can’t earn a point in all 48 of their games this season…can they?

Probable goaltenders: CHI – Ray Emery (9-0-0, 2.02 GAA, .926 SV%) | COL – Varlamov (6-8-3, 2.79 GAA, .910 SV%)

Top scorers: CHI – Patrick Kane (12-15-27, 23 GP) | COL – PA Parenteau (9-10-19, 21 GP) and Matt Duchene (7-12-19, 20 GP)

Notable Injuries:
Chicago – Forwards: Michael Frolik (illness) Defensemen: Steve Montador (concussion)
Colorado – Forwards: Milan Hejduk (upper body), Steve Downie (knee) Defensemen: Erik Johnson (concussion), Ryan Wilson (ankle)

  1. steelers88 - Mar 6, 2013 at 9:01 AM

    This is not a rivalry!

    • gospitfires - Mar 6, 2013 at 11:28 AM

      ya this is what i was coming here to write. just call it Wednesday night hockey. This is one of the most minor rivalries in the entire league. i mean really, not in the same division, ones a cup contendor, the other a first overall contendor, no geographical reason for them to be rivals, there is no on ice history that would make them natural rivals. Get a new slogan NBC, or pick better games.

    • rarelyshaves - Mar 6, 2013 at 11:31 AM

      and if it was, it’d be like saying cbj and chi are rivals

      sorry avs fans, your back checking is horrendous and I expect to see it get shredded by our forwards. IMO, best chance for victory is to try to focus all energy on offense, but there’s a depth issue there too.

      feel bad for the franchise, I live in denver and everyone agrees that this management group is slowly crafting a coffin

    • stakex - Mar 6, 2013 at 6:28 PM

      As I’ve pointed out in the past, the problem with a Rivalry Night is that there are only so many true rivalries in the NHL, and even fewer that make for good national TV games. Since they can’t have the same hand full of matchups all season, they just slap an exciting title on it (Rivalry Night has a good ring to it), and just play whatever games they can… throwing in a true rivalry game from time to time.

  2. sprtsfan1 - Mar 6, 2013 at 9:20 AM

    Ha! No it’s not, but it can be if the realignment happens.

  3. Chip Caray's Eyebrows - Mar 6, 2013 at 9:23 AM

    Given Colorado’s pedestrian results so far, it seems perhaps Mr. Landeskog should worry less about ending Chicago’s streak and a little more about whether or not he and his team can make a run at a playoff spot.

  4. broadstbully33 - Mar 6, 2013 at 9:43 AM

    I would take landeskog in a heartbeat. That kid is just amazing. He has everything a captain should and I’m glad the avs actually saw that in him and didn’t just drop the C on duchene to make him happy. Not to say duchene isn’t good I would take him just as fast but landeskog is the better pick for C

  5. pariseinminnesotabichez - Mar 6, 2013 at 9:46 AM

    What a fierce rivalry!!!!!! NOT

  6. mrpigs - Mar 6, 2013 at 10:12 AM

    Every PHT Blackhawks story… “Can (insert team) stop the Blackwaks streak?”

  7. steelpenbucs87 - Mar 6, 2013 at 10:37 AM

    Well of course they could – if you want to deal with hypotheticals they could…. just not for hockey reasons.

    Maybe if they gave them all the flu before they played the Canucks in a few games, sure.

  8. buffalomafia - Mar 6, 2013 at 10:42 AM

    These rivalry nite hockey games are way better than watching a Buffalo Sabres game!

  9. r8rbhawk - Mar 6, 2013 at 10:58 AM

    I can’t get wait for these two teams to hit the ice. As a hawks fan, I had this game circled on my calendar. I am certain the Avs fans feel the same way. This is a more fierce rivalry than Avs /Wings and Hawks/Wings put together.

    • r8rbhawk - Mar 6, 2013 at 4:01 PM

      Either that comment is getting thumbs down because those who read it cannot catch my sarcasm or they didn’t care for the joke.

  10. betrayedbylife - Mar 6, 2013 at 11:25 AM

    nbc needs to stop trying. this rivalry night thing is laughable.

  11. langforc - Mar 6, 2013 at 11:41 AM

    This is the “rivalry” they choose on a night when Toronto and Ottawa are playing..

    I get they want to choose American teams to show on their American network but they are just choosing teams that have played each other before at this point.

  12. tfaltin - Mar 6, 2013 at 11:43 AM

    Would have made more sense for Rivalry night to feature last nights Colorado-Detroit game. But to me that’s secondary to what this says about Landeskog. The kid wants to take on and beat the best, you gotta love it. I think Chicago’s top 9 will skate circles around the Avs D though.

  13. lunchboxray - Mar 6, 2013 at 11:50 AM

    This is NOT a rivalry. I dont’ see the streak ending tonight…maybe Friday in Colorado.

    The biggest upcoming threats to end the streak has to be when my Hawk play the Duck on the 20th and the Kings on the 25th.

  14. Jackson Scofield - Mar 6, 2013 at 1:02 PM

    tfaltin, think you mean Chicago’s Top 12, not just the Top 9… Every line scores for us.

  15. howiehandles - Mar 6, 2013 at 2:35 PM

    It’s great that he was waiting forward towards this game, in the mean time, they’ve lost 5 of 6. Maybe he, and the Avs, should have been more concerned with all those games. This is Colorado’s Stanley Cup tonight.

  16. steelers88 - Mar 6, 2013 at 3:44 PM

    Man I wish the Penguins could get a crack at the Blackhawks this year in the regular season. I think might be the one of the few teams that could knock off the Hawks.

  17. thehighcountrybear - Mar 6, 2013 at 7:10 PM

    Looks like a good night to go muck-out the stable, check for eggs out in the coop, maybe sashay on down to the store to watch the meat slicer. Avalanche v Hawks? Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz…

  18. gillette2112 - Mar 6, 2013 at 8:58 PM

    Chicago beat Chicago I didn’t know they had two NHL teams

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