CHICAGO (AP) — Colorado is in the mix for one of the top playoff seeds in the Western Conference, and first-year coach Patrick Roy thinks the Avalanche are one of the NHL's biggest surprises.
Tyson Barrie scored a tiebreaking power-play goal with 7:10 left in the third period, and the Avalanche beat the Chicago Blackhawks 4-2 on Tuesday night for their third straight win.
Colorado reached the 40-victory mark faster than any team in franchise history. It 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.
"Our objective at the start of the season was to surprise the world of hockey," Roy said. "Today, I guess we're making it even more interesting. We're one point behind these guys with one game in hand."
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.
"He put it right in my wheelhouse and I was able to get everything on it," Barrie said. "You always want to put it upstairs. I was lucky to beat Crawford there."
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.
Barrie scored for the second straight game as Colorado's defensemen continued to contribute offensively. The Avalanche got four goals from defensemen in a 6-3 win over Tampa Bay on Sunday.
Ryan O'Reilly and Maxime Talbot also scored for the Avalanche, who are 17-6-1 since New Year's Eve. O'Reilly has three goals and three assists in his last four games.
"I think we know what we've got in here," Barrie said. "We've got a great group of guys. It's a lot of fun to play."
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 Toews and Patrick Sharp.
The Blackhawks outshot Colorado 38-21, and Chicago coach Joel Quenneville thought that statistic reflected the play on the ice for most of the game.
"I think we outchanced and outplayed them," Quenneville said. "I didn't like any of the goals that went in tonight. It was one of those games."
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