NHL Game Summary - Chicago at Colorado
(Tuesday, March 23rd)
Final Score: Chicago 2, Colorado 2
Denver, CO (Sports Network) - Michael Leighton turned aside 41 shots to help the Chicago Blackhawks skate to a 2-2 tie with the Colorado Avalanche at the Pepsi Center.
Jim Vandermeer and Tyler Arnason tallied in the third period for Chicago, which has just two victories in the month of March (2-5-3-1).
Matthew Barnaby and Steve Konowalchuk found the back of the net for the Avalanche, who are winless in their last four (0-3-1) on the heels of a four- game winning streak. Tommy Salo allowed two goals on 30 shots for Colorado, which welcomed back star center Peter Forsberg after a 17-game absence due to abdominal and groin muscle problems.
"I was a little out of it at times," Forsberg said.
Colorado now has 94 points and leads the Northwest Division by five over idle Vancouver. If the Avalanche have any hopes of capturing the top overall spot in the Western Conference, they must take all four points of their upcoming home-and-home set with arch-rival Detroit that will begin in Denver on Thursday. The Red Wings lead the West with 99 points.
Earlier Tuesday, Colorado forward Steve Moore was released from Rose Medical Center after spending two weeks recovering from a vicious cheap shot by Vancouver's Todd Bertuzzi. Moore had suffered a broken neck, concussion with loss of consciousness and significant amnesia as well as multiple facial cuts after he was attacked from behind by Bertuzzi, who was suspended for the rest of the season, including the playoffs, for the hit.
Chicago scored twice in the third period to erase a two-goal deficit. Vandermeer picked up a deflected pass in the neutral zone and broke in on a shorthanded 2-on-1 break. After faking a cross-ice pass, he beat Salo to the near side with a laser from the right circle.
With time running out, a great individual effort by Arnason led to a 2-2 tie and eventually overtime. Holding the puck near the right corner boards, he made Sakic look foolish with a deke move, skated past him into the middle of the right circle and put the disc into the back of the cage with 1:40 to play.
"The puck came to me in the corner and Sakic thought I was going to cycle him," Arnason said. "I got open and put it over his stick."
In the extra period, a pair of poke-checks kept the Blackhawks from ending it. First, Salo prevented Scott Nichol from getting a shot off on a breakaway before a Colorado defenseman broke up a 2-on-1 just moments later. During yet another odd-man rush in the final minute, Chicago forward Eric Daze fired wide of the net and the contest ended in the 2-2 tie.
"We had to go for (the win)," said Forsberg. "They had some breakaways because we sent three guys into the zone."
The Blackhawks have just two victories in their last 13 games (2-6-4-1).
Following a scoreless first period, Colorado opened the scoring on Barnaby's 15th goal. Forsberg and Paul Kariya passed back and forth down low before Kariya settled in along the goal line to the right of the net. He then fed a streaking Barnaby, who fired home a wrister from the right circle just 1:29 into the session.
About 10 minutes later, with 8:06 to go in the period, the Avs took a two-goal lead. Sakic let go a snap shot through traffic in the slot, but Leighton made the save. The rebound, though, came back to Konowalchuk and he lit the lamp for the 18th time this season.
With an assist on the second goal, Sakic notched his 1,400th career point...Arnason has nine goals and eight assists in his last 11 games...Avs defenseman John-Michael Liles left the game with a right knee injury and did not return...Colorado is unbeaten in its last eight versus Chicago (7-0-1)...Chicago is just 1-8-2 in its last 11 trips to Denver...Both teams finished scoreless on four power-play chances.
03/24 00:38:36 ET