Blackhawks aim to rebound against Avalanche

( - The Chicago Blackhawks hope to rebound from a loss and extend their point streak to eight games when they host the Colorado Avalanche in Friday's battle at United Center.

The Blackhawks are coming off Wednesday's home shootout loss against Detroit. The 3-2 setback was Chicago's third loss in five games, but Chicago has managed to record at least a point in seven straight, going 4-0-3 during the stretch.

Chicago had won two in a row before falling in a shootout versus the Red Wings. Detroit grabbed a 2-1 lead on Darren Helm's goal with 2:06 left in the third, but Kris Versteeg evened things for the Blackhawks just 43 seconds later.

Tomas Tatar beat Corey Crawford for the decisive goal at the top of the third round and Chicago's Patrick Sharp was unable to answer, as Jimmy Howard made a left pad save to end the game.

Crawford stopped 26 shots for the Blackhawks, who also received a goal from Brandon Saad.

"Every point you get in the standings means a lot," Versteeg said. "You always want to get that extra point but with the shootout, you never know how it's gonna go."

Chicago enters Friday third in the Central Division, where it sits three points behind the St. Louis Blues. The Blackhawks also lead fourth-place Winnipeg by five points.

The loss to Detroit left Chicago with a 2-0-3 mark on its current eight-game homestand. The Blackhawks own a 18-7-4 record at the United Center on the season.

Colorado, meanwhile, is running out of time to prove itself playoff worthy, as Patrick Roy's club heads into Friday nine points out of a playoff spot with 24 games left on its schedule.

Three of the Avalanche's next four games are on the road, where they are just 9-11-8 on the season.

Colorado had won two in a row before dropping a 4-1 decision Wednesday against the visiting Los Angeles Kings. The loss gave the Avs a 2-5-0 mark over their last seven trips to the ice.

Gabriel Landeskog was the lone scorer for the Avalanche, who fell to the Kings despite holding a 43-26 advantage in shots. Semyon Varlamov made 22 saves in defeat.

"They were the ones pushing at us," Landeskog said of the second period. "We played hard and we played offensive. They played well. Our power play played well. We just couldn't capitalize."

Colorado wrapped up its four-game homestand with a 2-2 record. After visiting Chicago tonight it will return home to host Tampa Bay on Sunday before making stops in Nashville and Dallas.

Chicago won the first two tests against Colorado this season, but the Avs posted a 2-0 win at United Center the last time the clubs met on Jan. 6. Varlamov shined in that contest, making a franchise-record 54 saves to will the Avalanche to the victory.

Varlamov is expected to start again tonight and owns an 8-3-0 record and 2.01 goals against average in his career against the Blackhawks. Crawford is 4-7-2 with a 3.02 GAA in this series and will likely get the call for Chicago on Friday.