NHL-scoring leader Patrick Kane added an assist with Toews suspended a game by the league for pulling out of All-Star weekend. Toews cited an illness.
Gabriel Landeskog scored the only goal for Colorado, which was missing starting goalie Semyon Varlamov. He wrapped up a civil lawsuit filed against him by a former girlfriend, with a jury ruling in his favour late Tuesday and awarding Varlamov approximately $126,000 in damages.
Calvin Pickard gave up two early goals before settling into a rhythm. He stopped 40 shots.
Panarin nearly put the game away with 9:02 remaining when he skated in all alone on Pickard. But Pickard snared Panarin’s wrist shot with his glove.
Colorado pulled Pickard with around 2 minutes remaining but couldn’t tie up the game. Crawford came up with a big save on a laser shot by Landeskog from in front of the net with 58.3 seconds left.
It’s been quite a stretch lately for Crawford, who was named the NHL’s second star for January after going 9-2 with a .952 save percentage.
Panik and Panarin staked Chicago a 2-0 lead with goals 4:19 apart in the opening period, much to the delight of all the Blackhawk fans in attendance. This was Panik’s third goal since joining the Blackhawks on Jan. 3 from the Toronto Maple Leafs in a swap of minor league forwards.
Landeskog cut the deficit with a goal midway through the first.
Expected to serve as Pickard’s backup Tuesday, Varlamov was a scratch. Instead, the team recalled Roman Will from San Antonio of the American Hockey League.
This was the third game Varlamov’s missed to deal with the lawsuit filed by his former girlfriend stemming from a 2013 altercation. Charges against Varlamov were dropped when prosecutors said they did not have enough evidence.
“It’s over,” Avalanche GM Joe Sakic said in between periods. “He’s relieved and excited to play hockey again.”
NOTES: The Blackhawks outshot Colorado by a 42-24 margin. … Chicago D Michal Rozsival missed his second straight game, but coach Joel Quenneville said after morning practice that Rozsival is “close. Hopefully, he’ll be ready next game.” The Blackhawks play in Arizona on Thursday. … D Erik Johnson played in his 500th career NHL game. “When you come into the league, 500 seems like a long road ahead,” said Johnson, a first-round pick by St. Louis in 2006. … Colorado is 12-4-1 against the Central Division this season.