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Denver (AP) Bowwen Byram scored his first NHL goal and added assistance to the short-handed Colorado Avalanche to beat the Chicago Blackhawks 4-2 in the opening round on Wednesday night.
Nazem Kadri and Gabriel Landeskog each had Colorado goals and assists playing without star center Nathan MacKinnon and head coach Jared Bednar. Both are in the COVID-19 protocol and are away from the team.
Assistant coaches Ray Bennett and Nolan Pratt led the team against Chicago.
Darcy Quemper made his avalanche debut with 32 shots and Jack Johnson added a goal.
The Qumper, which was acquired from Arizona in the off-season, was not tested early, but made two major saves to Kirby Duck during the second period. Duck left at 12:02, but Quemper closed the shot pad. A few minutes later, from the circle on the left, he had another big chance that the quemper stopped.
Shortly thereafter, Byram gave Kadori a goal and a 4-1 lead.
Colorado has taken some revenge on Chicago goalkeeper Marc-André Fleury, who helped Vegas beat the avalanche in the second round of the 2020-21 playoffs. Fleury faced barrage early on when Colorado scored 17 of the first 19 shots.
Johnson, who formed a team with a professional tryout contract, started scoring at 4:26 in the first period. Randeskog’s bias of 1:22 later turned 2-0, and Byram scored at 9:34, leading three avalanches.
The Blackhawks got on the board later in the first period when forward Dominique Kubarik scored in power play at 16:47 and cut Colorado’s lead 3-1.
Connor Murphy scored an unassisted goal at 15:13 in the third period. Chicago continued to play power at 16:26, pulling Fleury with a 6-4 advantage, but failed to score.
Avalanche hopes McKinnon and Bednar will be able to return to the match on Saturday night. Both are asymptomatic and may be “tested”, according to general manager Joe Sakic.
Note: Forward Jason Menha was recalled by AHL to fill the McKinnon spot. He centered the fourth line. … Chicago C’s Jonathan Tows played his first game before the pandemic. He opted out last season after being diagnosed with chronic immune response syndrome. … Colorado has been a home opener 17-6-3 since moving to Denver in 1995.
Blackhawks: Friday night in New Jersey Devils.
Avalanche: Hosts the St. Louis Blues on Saturday night.
Other APNHL: https: //apnews.com/hub/NHL and https://twitter.com/AP-Sports
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Byram scored first NHL goal, Avalanche beat Blackhawks 4-2 | WGN Radio 720
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