Svatos, Smyth propel Avalanche past Blackhawks

CHICAGO (Ticker) — Marek Svatos and Ryan Smyth each scored a
goal and set up another as the Colorado Avalanche snapped a
six-game losing streak by trouncing the Chicago Blackhawks, 5-1,
on Sunday.

Ben Guite, rookie Chris Stewart and Milan Hejduk also tallied
and Tyler Arnason notched three assists for the Avalanche, who
tuned up their defense after surrendering four or more goals in
each of their previous four games.

Captain Jonathan Toews netted a power-play goal and rookie Antti
Niemi made 24 saves in his second career start for Chicago,
which opened a four-game homestand by dropping its second
straight contest.

Colorado got on the board early and often as Guite opened the
scoring with 6:26 remaining in the first period and Stewart
registered his 10th tally of the season 3 1/2 minutes later.

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Toews halved the deficit on the man advantage at 6:53 of the
second, but Smyth restored the two-goal bulge with four minutes
remaining in the session. Svatos exposed Niemi again to balloon
the lead 2 1/2 minutes later.

Smyth secured the win at 5:37 of the third, taking pass from
Svatos and lifting a backhanded shot into the vacant net for his
24th goal of the campaign.

Peter Budaj turned aside 24 shots for the Avalanche, who have
endured six losing streaks of at least three games this season.