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Avalanche Sweeps Blackhawks; wins 4-3

Posted By Donovan Wilson On Dec 16 2010 @ 1:18 am In Colorado Avalanche | No Comments

(Chicago, Illinois) – Before Colorado hockey fans get excited about the headline – remember it’s only December and no team in the league has played half of its schedule games.

Tonight the Avs stirred vision of a playoff berth with a gritty 4-3 victory against the defending Stanley Cup Champions in Chicago.  Tomas Fleischmann scored a third period hat trick and Craig Anderson played superlatively in goal to lead the Avalanche to their fourth straight victory.

Unlike the wide open game played on Monday at the Pepsi Center, this game was aligned with a playoff-type contest. There was some tight checking and strong defensive plays.

The Avs got the jump on the Blackhawks more than 13 minutes into the first period on Greg Mauldin score, taking a 1-0 lead into the second period during which Bryan Bickell evened the score 1-1. The period ended this way before Fleischmann’s heroics in the third period.

Two power play goals by the winger in less than two minutes put the Avs up 3-1, before Jonathan Toews cut the lead in half. With solid puck movement, Colorado deflated Chicago with an in close wrist shot by Fleischmann for some much needed insurance. A last second goal by Troy Brouwer spelled too little too late for the slumping host.

If tonight’s game is a harbinger of things to come for the young Avalanche team – then the optimism that surrounds them is not premature. Colorado does not seem like a team that’s on the verge of bowing out of the playoff race. In fact, with their roster still riddled with injuries, this team is shaping up like one that can actually win the division –outright.

At this point in the season the Avs and the Blackhawks seem to be trending in opposite directions. Without a doubt, both teams are missing some key players due to injuries; but the Avs have continued to step up their game to overcome their adversity, while the Blackhawks have not.

Another difference in tonight’s game was Craig Anderson, who stood tall in net – making 35 saves and giving his team a chance to pull this one off.  The Avs return home to entertain Canada this weekend with the Ottawa Senators coming to town on Friday and the Montreal Canadiens, Saturday.

Game Notes: Missing tonight’s game due to injuries were  Milan Hejduk;  Peter Mueller; T.J. Galardi; Kyle Cuminsky;  Kyle Quincey;  and Chris Stewart for Colorado; and for Chicago… Patrick Kane; Marian Hossa; and Fernando Pisani.

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