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Blackhawks defeat Avalanche

Blackhawks defeat AvalancheThe official game recap Colorado Avalanche vs Chicago Blackhawks.

The Chicago Blackhawks scored five goals in the third period, including three in 34 seconds, to rally for a 6-3 win against the Colorado Avalanche at United Center on Sunday.

The Blackhawks (47-20-5) became the first Western Conference team to clinch a berth in the Stanley Cup Playoffs when the Calgary Flames defeated the Los Angeles Kings. Chicago leads the Minnesota Wild by seven points for first place in the Central Division and conference.

"We've been in a lot of tight games lately, where offense has been hard to come by, and it looked like it was the same thing for 40 minutes tonight," said Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews, who scored two goals in the third period. "It's nice for us to finally get a few bounces, and no doubt it gets your crowd into it and energizes your team. It made a huge difference for us tonight."

Mikhail Grigorenko scored two goals and Sven Andrighetto had one for Colorado (20-48-3), which led 3-1 entering the third. Chicago surged ahead 4-3 on goals from Toews at 10:17, Richard Panik at 10:34 and Artemi Panarin at 10:51.

Toews scored his 20th goal at 13:19 to put the Blackhawks ahead 5-3, and Marcus Kruger scored into an empty net with two seconds left.

"I think we came out in the third playing not to lose, and you can't play like that against a team like Chicago," said Colorado defenseman Mark Barberio, who had an assist on Andrighetto's goal. "They started rolling, they started getting momentum, and I think we were sitting back even more just watching them play instead of being part of the game."

Avalanche coach Jared Bednar challenged that Toews was offside before he scored his first goal of the night to get the Blackhawks within 3-2, but video review was inconclusive.

"I guess I don't necessarily fully understand [the rule]," Bednar said. "It's a tag-up rule. They said it wasn't on [Panik's] stick [yet]. That is what it is. For me, it's 3-2 with [9:43] to go. That gives them a little life. It's what we do after that that bothers me. That call there is the least of what bugs me about how that game finished."

Blackhawks rookie John Hayden had two assists in his third NHL game, after scoring his first goal in the League in Chicago's 2-1 overtime win at the Toronto Maple Leafs on Saturday. Patrick Kane had a goal and assist, Panarin had a goal and assist, rookie Nick Schmaltz had two assists, and goalie Scott Darling made 22 saves.

Jeremy Smith made 19 of his 28 saves in the first and second periods for the Avalanche, but allowed four goals on 13 shots in the third.

-- by Brian Hedger for NHL.com --

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