Avs squan­der 2-goal lead

BLACK­HAWKS 6, AVALANCHE 3 Black­hawks rally with five scores in third pe­riod to win.

The Denver Post - - SPORTS - By Michael Stain­brook

chicago» For 50 min­utes Sun­day, the Avalanche looked like a team ca­pa­ble of beat­ing just about any­one in the NHL.

But 34 sec­onds and one ap­par­ent botched re­play later, the Avs once again were star­ing at a deficit against one of the best teams in hockey.

The Chicago Black­hawks ral­lied fu­ri­ously with five third-pe­riod goals, in­clud­ing three in a span of 34 sec­onds mid­way through the pe­riod, en route to de­feat­ing the Avalanche 6-3 at the United Cen­ter.

What started as a promis­ing game for Colorado and its young play­ers turned into yet an­other de­feat in the blink of an eye. The Avalanche (20-48-3) led 3-1 af­ter two pe­ri­ods thanks to two goals from Mikhail Grig­orenko and a tally from Sven An­drighetto. But Jonathan Toews scored his 19th and 20th goals of the sea­son, and Richard Panik and Artemi Pa­narin scored in be­tween to turn a twogoal lead into a two-goal deficit.

The rally started when Toews redi­rected in a point shot from Dun­can Keith at 10:17 of the third pe­riod. Colorado coach Jared Bed­nar chal­lenged the play, and video re­plays ap­peared to show Toews was off­side be­fore he later scored, but the lines­men up­held the call af­ter a lengthy re­view.

“I don’t nec­es­sar­ily un­der­stand it, but it’s a tag-up rule,” Bed­nar said. “It wasn’t on his stick. That is what it is. For me, it’s 3-2, 9½ min­utes to go, that gives them a lit­tle life. It’s what we do af­ter that that both­ers me.”

Panik scored the go-ahead goal 17 sec­onds later, and Pa­narin added an in­sur­ance tally af­ter an­other 17 sec­onds. Toews scored again at 13:19, and Mar­cus Kruger found the empty net at 19:58.

Af­ter Pa­trick Kane struck first for the Black­hawks at 4:33 of the first pe­riod, Grig­orenko re­sponded at 8:14 by tuck­ing away a re­bound that Chicago goalie Scott Dar­ling failed to con­trol.

Seven min­utes later, Grig­orenko made the most of lim­ited shoot­ing space on a one-on-two and snapped a wrist shot that clanked in off the right post.

Blake Comeau and Carl Soder­berg as­sisted on Grig­orenko’s first goal. Tyson Barrie and Fe­dor Tyutin chipped in on the sec­ond. A day af­ter sit­ting out Colorado’s loss at Detroit, Grig­orenko re­placed John Mitchell in the lineup and had his first two-goal game since Nov. 8, 2013, with Buf­falo against Ana­heim.

“There’s still 11 games left in the sea­son. … Ev­ery­one has some­thing to play for,” Grig­orenko said. “I re­ally wanted to make an im­pact and be sure to play good enough not to be scratched ever again.”

An­drighetto tipped in a shot from Mark Bar­be­rio at 16:24 of the sec­ond pe­riod to ex­tend Colorado’s lead. Mikko Ran­ta­nen picked up the other as­sist.

The game was the first at the United Cen­ter for rookie J.T. Com­pher, who grew up in sub­ur­ban North­brook, Ill.

Af­ter an en­cour­ag­ing start to the game, rookie goalie Jeremy Smith dropped to 1-5 and al­lowed at least three goals for the sixth time in as many starts. He stopped 28 of the 33 shots he faced.

To­mas Jurco, right, of the Black­hawks con­trols the puck in front of the Avalanche’s Rene Bourque on Sun­day at the United Cen­ter in Chicago. Jonathan Daniel, Getty Im­ages

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