Skip to content
Byram scores first NHL goal, Avalanche beats Blackhawks 4-2 – CBS Chicago

DENVER (AP) – Bowen Byram scored his first NHL goal and added an assist to lead the shorthanded Colorado Avalanche to a 4-2 victory over the Chicago Blackhawks in the season opener for the two teams on Wednesday evening.

Nazem Kadri and Gabriel Landeskog each scored a goal and an assist for Colorado, who played without star center Nathan MacKinnon and head coach Jared Bednar. Both are in COVID-19 protocol and away from the team.

READ MORE: FOP president predicts 50% of DPC agents will stay home if Mayor Lightfoot doesn’t back down on vaccination mandate

Assistant coaches Ray Bennett and Nolan Pratt led the team against Chicago.

Darcy Kuemper stopped 32 shots on his Avalanche debut and Jack Johnson added a goal.

Kuemper, acquired from Arizona in the offseason, was not tested early but made two big saves on Kirby Dach in the second period. Dach made a breakaway at 12:02, but Kuemper closed the pads on his shot. A few minutes later he had another wide open left circle chance that Kuemper stopped.

Soon after, Byram fed Kadri to a goal and a 4-1 lead.

Colorado took some revenge on Chicago goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury, who helped Vegas beat the Avalanche in the second round of the 2020-21 playoffs. Fleury faced a barrage of shots early when Colorado had 17 of the first 19 shots on goal.

Johnson, who was with the team on a professional tryout contract, opened the scoring at 4:26 of the first period. Landeskog’s deviation at 1:22 later made it 2-0, and Byram scored at 9:34 to give the Avalanche a three-lead lead.

READ MORE: Healing through images: Photographer asks for help after losing brother to gun violence

The Blackhawks got on the board late in the first period when forward Dominik Kubalik scored on the power play at 4:47 pm, reducing Colorado’s lead to 3-1.

Connor Murphy scored an unassisted goal at 15:13 of the third period. Chicago played the power play at 4:26 PM and pulled Fleury for a 6-4 advantage, but couldn’t score.


The Avalanche are hoping MacKinnon and Bednar can return for Saturday night’s game. Both are asymptomatic and could “be tested,” according to chief executive Joe Sakic.

REMARKS: Forward Jayson Megna has been recalled from the AHL to replace MacKinnon. He centered the fourth line. … Chicago C Jonathan Toews played his first game since before the pandemic. He chose not to participate last season after being diagnosed with chronic immune response syndrome. … Colorado is 17-6-3 in home opener games since moving to Denver in 1995.


Blackhawks: At the New Jersey Devils on Friday night.

NO MORE NEWS: WNBA Finals: Phoenix Mercury Even Series with 91-86 win over Chicago Sky

Avalanche: Hosts the St. Louis Blues on Saturday night.