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NHL Preview from The Sports Network

Thursday, October 20th (All times Eastern)

Chicago Blackhawks (3-1-1) at Colorado Avalanche (5-1-0), 9 p.m.

(Sports Network) - The sizzling Colorado Avalanche are back in the Rocky Mountains and will begin a home-and-home series with the Chicago Blackhawks tonight from the Pepsi Center.

After dropping their season opener at home to Detroit, the Avalanche hit the road for five games and finished with an unblemished mark on the trek following Monday's 3-2 win in overtime at Toronto. David Jones scored the game winner 1:11 into the extra period, while Milan Hejduk and Daniel Winnik each had a goal for the Avalanche, who got 27 saves from Jean-Sebastien Giguere.

"It was fun to see the guys come out and play the way they've played over these five games," said Colorado head coach Joe Sacco. "We knew it was going to be a grind but the guys played through it and I couldn't be happier."

The Avs earned 10 points on the trek and outscored their opponents by an 18-10 margin. Jones had four goals and an assist during the road swing for Colorado, which leads the Western Conference and sits atop the National Hockey League with 10 points in six games.

Colorado will close out the home-and-home series Saturday in Chicago. On the injury front, Avs forward Peter Mueller (head) is probable for tonight.

Meanwhile, the Blackhawks will wrap up a short two-game trek tonight in Denver and are coming off Tuesday's 5-2 trouncing of the Phoenix Coyotes.

Marian Hossa, who missed the last game with an upper-body injury, scored the first goal of the game, while Jonathan Toews, Jamal Mayers, Dave Bolland and Bryan Bickell also lit the lamp for the Blackhawks, who have won three of their last four games.

"Good teams are supposed to score on 5-on-3s," Hossa said of his scoring opportunity.

Blackhawks goaltender Corey Crawford stopped 14 of the 16 shots he faced.

Chicago hasn't lost a game in regulation since dropping its season opener at Dallas on Oct. 7 in Texas.

Colorado won three of four matchups with Chicago last season, but the two clubs have split the last 22 meetings. The Blackhawks are 5-10-1 in their past 16 trips to the Pepsi Center.

10/20 10:49:27 ET

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