In the years the Chicago Blackhawks were annual Stanley Cup contenders http://www.flamesshoponline.com/authentic-jaromir-jagr-jersey , the Colorado Avalanche seemed to find ways to beat them despite being a perennial lottery team.The script is flipped this season and it’s the Blackhawks who are struggling while the Avalanche are near the top of the Western Conference standings. Chicago can play the role Colorado did for a few years when the two teams meet at Pepsi Center in Denver on Friday night.The Avalanche have a little advantage going into the matchup. Chicago played in Dallas on Thursday night — a 5-2 win over the Stars — so it will be on the second night of a back-to-back against a relatively rested Colorado team. The Avalanche, however, will be shorthanded on defense. Nikita Zadorov suffered a lower-body injury in Wednesday’s 2-1 win over Montreal and will miss at least two games.Article continues below ...“Muscular, so I would consider him day-to-day, but he won’t play in these next two games,” Avalanche coach Jared Bednar told HockeyBuzz.com on Thursday. “I think he just tweaked something.”Colorado (19-10-6) is still very formidable without one of its top defenseman because of the first line of Mikko Rantanen, Nathan MacKinnon and Gabe Landeskog. Rantanen and Landeskog scored the goals in the win over the Canadiens, and MacKinnon assisted on both.Rantanen and MacKinnon are 1-2, respectively, in scoring in the NHL Johnny Gaudreau Jersey Kids , and Landeskog leads the team with 23 goals. Their big seasons are a result of coming in as young players and developing their games at the NHL level.That is where the Blackhawks are now after winning three Stanley Cups in six seasons (2010 through 2015). Chicago (12-19-6) is experiencing growing pains, which is one reason why it sits in last place in the Central Division.“Now more than ever, this league is about developing players as you go,” Blackhawks coach Jeremy Colliton told the Chicago Tribune. “It’s younger than ever. You need to continue to bring guys along and teach them how they’re going to have to play to win.”Chicago’s youth development was accelerated by a rash of concussions recently. Goaltender Corey Crawford suffered one against San Jose on Sunday, and center Marcus Kruger was struck by an inadvertent elbow in Tuesday’s game against Nashville. Both are out and the Blackhawks are being cautious with the two.Forward Artem Anisimov missed four games with a concussion suffered Dec. 9 but has returned.“You only have one brain,” Blackhawks defenseman Duncan Keith said. “Any brain trauma, I don’t know if there’s enough studies out there that show the lasting effects of a concussion and what can happen. So that’s the scary part of concussions, and I think that’s why the awareness we have out there is a good thing now.”With Crawford out, Collin Delia could get the start in goal against the Avalanche after Cam Ward was in net against Dallas. Colorado is going to start Philipp Grubauer, who is 8-2-3 as the No. 2 netminder behind Semyon Varlamov but has a 3.05 goals-against average.Grubauer and Varlamov have struggled of late Los Angeles Kings Hats Womens , but Grubauer is coming off a 35-save performance against Montreal.“Grubi just looked like he was in control of the game, looked real confident and steady in there,” Bednar told HockeyBuzz.com. LOS ANGELES (AP) — Valtteri Filppula isn’t taking many shots, but the third-line center is making them count.The New York Islanders decided to follow his lead, with Filppula scoring two goals on two shots to help his team snap a two-game road losing streak with a 7-2 victory over the Los Angeles Kings on Thursday night.Filppula, Matt Martin, Leo Komarov and Andrew Ladd each had a goal in the third period as the Islanders set a season high in scoring.“It’s always nice to get a couple goals, and I think all of our lines played really well,” said Filppula, who also had an assist for his first three-point game since Dec. 16 Womens Mark Giordano Jersey , 2016, against Calgary.Casey Cizikas had a goal for the second straight game, and Josh Bailey scored on the power play. Robin Lehner made 28 saves for the Islanders, who were playing the second game of a back-to-back.Jonathan Quick made his first start for the Kings after missing five games because of a lower-body injury, but was pulled with 10:40 remaining after allowing six goals on 29 shots. Tyler Toffoli and Jeff Carter each scored on the power play, and Los Angeles lost its third straight.Filppula made it 3-1 after Bailey’s power-play goal put New York back in front 2-1 at 3:43 of the second period.After Carter made it 3-2 during a two-man advantage early in the third, Filppula had a short-handed goal on a two-man break 46 seconds later to restore a two-goal lead.Filppula, who has scored a team-leading four goals on seven shots, credited passes from Komarov and Ladd for making his night so easy and helping the Islanders win for the second time in their past nine games in Los Angeles (2-7-0).“I’d like to have the chance to shoot it a little bit more, but today Youth Matthew Tkachuk Jersey , with both those passes, can’t get much closer than that,” Filppula said.Martin added his goal a minute later, at 4:40.Komarov scored, sending Quick to the bench, and Ladd capped the barrage of goals at 11:34 against backup Jack Campbell.“It was really disappointing,” Kings coach John Stevens said. “Totally, totally went to sleep, gave up a really easy short-handed goal there and just stopped playing.”The Islanders took a 1-0 lead at 4:05 of the first on a goal by Cizikas.Toffoli tied it at 1, redirecting Drew Doughty’s shot from the blue line at 14:56 for the Kings’ first power-play goal of the season. Los Angeles had started 0 for 22 on the power play and was the last team in the NHL to score with the man advantage.And while the Kings got their power play on track Michael Frolik Jersey , they continue to struggle on the penalty kill. Los Angeles has allowed a power-play goal in three straight games and four of the last five, killing just 64.7 percent of penalties (11 of 17) in that span.“I think we’ve got some soul searching to do,” defenseman Alec Martinez said. “What happened there at the end was unacceptable. It’s not one guy in particular. It’s all of us. We’ve got to figure some things out.”Kings center Anze Kopitar did not play because of illness. It was the first time he missed a game since Jan. 18, 2017, and ended a streak of playing in 126 consecutive games.Lehner left late in the third period after he was struck in the upper body by a puck, Islanders coach Barry Trotz said. Thomas Greiss played the final 7:04 and stopped all five shots he faced.NOTES: Filppula, Ladd and Scott Mayfield each had three points. Mayfield and defenseman Thomas Hickey each had a plus-5 rating. … Islanders center Mathew Barzal had two assists, giving him six in six games. … Kings forward Sheldon Rempal played 13:06 in his NHL debut. … With Quick coming off injured reserve, goalie Peter Budaj was assigned to the Kings’ AHL affiliate in a corresponding move.UP NEXTIslanders: Conclude their four-game trip in San Jose on Saturday.Kings: Host the Buffalo Sabres in a Saturday matinee.