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Barrie's goal lifts Avalanche over Chicago for third straight win

By: The Associated Press
March 4, 2014 Updated: March 4, 2014 at 9:33 pm
Caption +
Colorado Avalanche defenseman Tyson Barrie (4) handles the puck in front of the Chicago Blackhawks's goal as defenseman Niklas Hjalmarsson (4) and Bryan Bickell (29) defend during the first period of an NHL hockey game Tuesday, March 4, 2014, in Chicago. Also watching the play is Coilorado's Cody McLeod (55). (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)

CHICAGO — Tyson Barrie scored a tiebreaking power-play goal with 7:10 left in the third period, and the Colorado Avalanche beat the Chicago Blackhawks 4-2 on Tuesday night for their third straight win.

The Avalanche reached the 40-victory mark faster than any team in franchise history. They also improved to 3-1 against the Blackhawks this season and moved within one point of the Stanley Cup champions for second in the Central Division.

Barrie got open in the left circle and one-timed Erik Johnson's perfect cross-ice feed high past Corey Crawford on the glove side. It was Barrie's second game-winner against Chicago this season, following an overtime goal against the Blackhawks on Jan. 14.

Paul Stastny completed the scoring with an empty-netter with 32.6 seconds left. Rookie Nathan MacKinnon got an assist on Stastny's 20th goal, extending his point streak to 12 games, tying Wayne Gretzky's record for an 18-year-old set in 1979-80.

Ryan O'Reilly and Maxime Talbot also scored for the Avalanche, who are 17-6-1 in a 24-game stretch dating to New Year's Eve. O'Reilly has three goals and three assists in his last four games.

Ben Smith and Jonathan Toews scored for Chicago, which was without veteran forward Marian Hossa. Toews has three goals in his last two games.

Hossa left Saturday night's 5-1 victory over Pittsburgh at Soldier Field with an upper-body injury and is expected to miss two to three weeks. Brandon Saad moved up again to take Hossa's spot on the right side of Chicago's top line with center Jonathan Toews and Patrick Sharp.

Crawford had 17 stops in the Blackhawks' first game at the United Center since a 3-1 loss to Winnipeg on Jan. 26.

Colorado's Semyon Varlamov made 36 saves.

Chicago and the young, much-improved Avalanche could meet in the opening round of this season's playoffs under the NHL's new alignment.

The Blackhawks outshot Colorado 11-3 in a scoreless first period, but didn't generate many prime chances.

Talbot put the Avalanche in front 2:49 into the second when he got his stick on Erik Johnson's low shot from the right point. Positioned in the right circle, Talbot barely ticked Johnson's wrister, but it was enough to direct the puck between Crawford's pads.

The Blackhawks turned up the pressure after falling behind, outskating the Avalanche and forcing turnovers. Varlamov helped keep Chicago off the board with several sharp saves, including point-blank stops on Toews and Peter Regin.

Smith and Chicago's solid fourth line tied it at 1 with 3:08 left in the second. Capping some work along the boards with Brandon Bollig, Smith cut into the left circle and fired a shot past Varlamov with Avalanche defenseman Jan Hejda screening.

O'Reilly snapped off a low shot from the right circle that slipped between Crawford's pads at 1:23 of the third to put Colorado ahead 2-1.

Toews replied with a power-play goal at 7:17. After slipping to the right side of the net, Toews took Sharp's feed and fired it past Varlamov to complete a slick passing series.

NOTES: The Blackhawks acquired D David Rundblad and D Mathieu Brisebois in a trade with Phoenix before the game. Rundblad will join the Blackhawks and give them eight defensemen on the roster. Brisebois will report to Rockford of the AHL. Chicago parted with a second-round selection in this year's draft to complete the trade. ... Crawford wore his black leg pads against Colorado. His favorite set, custom white models, disappeared from Soldier Field after Saturday's game.

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