CHICAGO -- Colorado is in the mix for one of the top playoff seeds in the Western Conference, and first-year coach Patrick Roy thinks the Avalanche are one of the NHLs biggest surprises. Tyson Barrie scored a tiebreaking power-play goal with 7:10 left in the third period, and the Avalanche beat the Chicago Blackhawks 4-2 on Tuesday night for their third straight win. Colorado reached the 40-victory mark faster than any team in franchise history. It also improved to 3-1 against the Blackhawks this season and moved within one point of the Stanley Cup champions for second in the Central Division. "Our objective at the start of the season was to surprise the world of hockey," Roy said. "Today, I guess were making it even more interesting. Were one point behind these guys with one game in hand." Barrie got open in the left circle and one-timed Erik Johnsons perfect cross-ice feed high past Corey Crawford on the glove side. It was Barries second game-winner against Chicago this season, following an overtime goal against the Blackhawks on Jan. 14. "He put it right in my wheelhouse and I was able to get everything on it," Barrie said. "You always want to put it upstairs. I was lucky to beat Crawford there." Paul Stastny completed the scoring with an empty-netter with 32.6 seconds left. Rookie Nathan MacKinnon got an assist on Stastnys 20th goal, extending his point streak to 12 games, tying Wayne Gretzkys record for an 18-year-old set in 1979-80. Barrie scored for the second straight game as Colorados defencemen continued to contribute offensively. The Avalanche got four goals from defencemen in a 6-3 win over Tampa Bay on Sunday. Ryan OReilly and Maxime Talbot also scored for the Avalanche, who are 17-6-1 since New Years Eve. OReilly has three goals and three assists in his last four games. "I think we know what weve got in here," Barrie said. "Weve got a great group of guys. Its a lot of fun to play." Ben Smith and Jonathan Toews scored for Chicago, which was without veteran forward Marian Hossa. Toews has three goals in his last two games. Hossa left Saturday nights 5-1 victory over Pittsburgh at Soldier Field with an upper-body injury and is expected to miss two to three weeks. Brandon Saad moved up again to take Hossas spot on the right side of Chicagos top line with Toews and Patrick Sharp. The Blackhawks outshot Colorado 38-21, and Chicago coach Joel Quenneville thought that statistic reflected the play on the ice for most of the game. "I think we outchanced and outplayed them," Quenneville said. "I didnt like any of the goals that went in tonight. It was one of those games." Chicago also lost ground to St. Louis, which beat Tampa Bay 4-2 and is all alone in the Central lead, three points behind Anaheim for the top spot in the conference. "We lost a lot of ground," Quenneville said. "A four-point swing." Chicago and the much-improved Avalanche could meet in the opening round of the playoffs under the NHLs new alignment. "I would say 80 per cent, if not 90 per cent, said at the beginning of the year the Avalanche will miss the playoffs," Roy said. "Its not done yet, but were certainly in good shape right now." Colorados Semyon Varlamov made 36 saves. Crawford had 17 stops in the Blackhawks first game at the United Center since a 3-1 loss to Winnipeg on Jan. 26. The Blackhawks outshot Colorado 11-3 in a scoreless first period, but didnt generate many prime chances. Talbot put the Avalanche in front 2:49 into the second when he got his stick on Johnsons low shot from the right point. Positioned in the right circle, Talbot barely ticked Johnsons wrister, but it was enough to direct the puck between Crawfords pads. The Blackhawks turned up the pressure after falling behind, outskating the Avalanche and forcing turnovers. Varlamov helped keep Chicago off the board with several sharp saves, including point-blank stops on Toews and Peter Regin. Smith and Chicagos solid fourth line tied it at 1 with 3:08 left in the second. Capping some work along the boards with Brandon Bollig, Smith cut into the left circle and fired a shot past Varlamov with Avalanche defenceman Jan Hejda screening. OReilly snapped off a low shot from the right circle that slipped between Crawfords pads at 1:23 of the third to put Colorado ahead 2-1. Toews replied with a power-play goal at 7:17. After slipping to the right side of the net, Toews took Sharps feed and fired it past Varlamov to complete a slick passing series. NOTES: The Blackhawks acquired D David Rundblad and D Mathieu Brisebois in a trade with Phoenix before the game. Rundblad will join the Blackhawks and give them eight defencemen on the roster. Brisebois will report to Rockford of the AHL. Chicago parted with a second-round selection in this years draft to complete the trade. ... Crawford wore his black leg pads against Colorado. His favourite set, custom white models, disappeared from Soldier Field after Saturdays game. Chuck Howley Youth Jersey . Peko, a fourth-round pick in 2006, started all 16 games and a playoff loss to San Diego last season. He was second on the line with 72 tackles and had a career-high three sacks. Charles Haley Womens Jersey . 1. Lions WR Calvin Johnson (6 REC, 101 YDS, 1 TD, 10 targets) leads receivers with 1,299 yards and 12 touchdowns, though his 118.1 receiving yards per game ranks second behind Clevelands Josh Gordon. Gordon (10 REC, 261 YDS, 2 TD, 15 targets) is emerging as a superstar, putting up huge numbers even with Jason Campbell and Brandon Weeden at quarterback. http://www.cowboysfootballgearshop.com/t...ett-jersey/.com) - James van Riemsdyk had two goals with one assist to help the Toronto Maple Leafs to a 5-2 win over the Columbus Blue Jackets on Friday night. Robert Newhouse Jersey . QUARTERBACKS Carson Palmer (vs Colts)Last week: 30/42, 419 yards, 2 TDsWinners of their last three and now tied for the final wild card spot in the NFC, the Cardinals are worth keeping an eye on. Troy Aikman Cowboys Jersey . -- Theres something about playing on Orlandos floor lately that seems to bring out the best in the Dallas Mavericks.Men to watch at the Australian Open, which begins Monday at Melbourne Park:NOVAK DJOKOVICSeeded: 1Ranked: 1Age: 27Country: Serbia2014 Match Record: 61-82014 Singles Titles: 7Career Singles Titles: 48Major Titles: 7 — Australian Open (08, 11, 12, 13) Wimbledon (11, 14), U.S. Open (11),Last 5 Australian Opens: 14-QF, 13-Won, 12-Won 11-Won, 10-QFTopspin: Has a game suited to the hard courts at Melbourne Park, where he has won the bulk of his major titles. ... His 25-match win streak at the Australian Open ended in the quarterfinals last year, when he lost 9-7 in the fifth set to eventual champion Stan Wawrinka. ... Finished No. 1 for the third time in four years, winning a tour-high seven titles. ... Extended his run of winning a major every year to four years with his title at Wimbledon and returned to No. 1 ranking. ... Finished 2014 with his third consecutive title at the season-ending championship. ... Started 2015 with a quarterfinal run at Doha. ... Had a big year off the courts, too, marrying his longtime girlfriend, Jelena. Their son, Stefan, was born in October.___ROGER FEDERERSeeded: 2Ranked: 2Age: 33Country: Switzerland2014 Match Record: 72-122014 Singles Titles: 5Career Singles Titles: 83Major Titles: 17 — Australian Open (04, 06, 07, 10), French Open (09), Wimbledon (03, 04, 05, 06, 07, 09, 12), U.S. Open (04, 05, 06, 07, 08)Last 5 Australian Opens: 14-SF, 13-SF, 12-SF, 11-SF, 10-Won.Topspin: Recorded his 1,000th match win on the professional tour, becoming only third man to reach the milestone, with victory over Milos Raonic in the final of the Brisbane International in his first tournament of the season. ... Had a strong finish to last season, finishing in the year-end top two for the 10th time, and oldest player since rankings system was introduced to finish in top two. ... Led the tour in match wins and matches played in 2014, showing few signs of injuries that had hampered him in the previous couple of years. ... Led Switzerland to its first ever Davis Cup title. ... Has reached the semifinals or better at 11 consecutive Australian Open tournaments, but hasnt returned to the final since winning the last of his four Australian titles in 2010. ... Hasnt won a major since 2012 Wimbledon, and lost the final at Wimbledon last year, the only time hes contested a major final since his last Grand Slam title. ... Will be playing his 61st consecutive major.___RAFAEL NADALSeeded: 3Ranked: 3Age: 28Country: Spain2014 Match Record: 48-112014 Singles Titles: 4Career Singles Titles: 64Major Titles: 14 — Australian Open (2009), French Open (05, 06, 07, 08, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14), Wimbledon (08, 10), U.S. Open (10, 13).Last 5 Australian Opens: 14-F, 13-Did Not Play, 12-F, 11-QF, 10-QF.Topspin: Finished year in top three for the ninth time in 10 years despite limited playing time after losing the No. 1 ranking in July after 39 weeks at the top. ... Spent three months out after Wimbledon with a right wrist injury. After returning briefly in China, he withdrew from the season-ending championship because of appendicitis and underwent surgery Nov. 3. ... Hasnt won the Australian Open since 2009, his longest drought at any of the majors, but has reached two of the last three finals. He went down to Djokovic in the 2012 final, losing 7-5 in the fifth set in a 5-hour, 53-minute match, and lost to Stan Wawrinka in the deciding match last season. ... Has won at least one major in 10 consecutive seasons, a record, and is tied at No. 2 with Pete Sampras on the all-time list with 14 majors. ... Nadal has proven he can win majors on hard courts, and the biggest question over him in 2015 will be how he handles his third comeback from a long-term injury.___STAN WAWRINKASeeded: 4Ranked: 4Age: 29Country: Switzerland2014 Match Record: 39-172014 Singles Titles: 3Career Singles Titles: 7Major Titles: 1 — Australian Open (14)Last 5 Australian Opens: 14-W, 13-4th, 12-3rd, 11-QF, 10-3rd.Topspin: Melbourne Park last year was the scene of only Grand Slam title, beating the then three-time defending champion Djokovic and then No. 1-ranked Nadal on the way to claiming his first major title. ... He warmed up for the last Australian Open with a title in Chennai, and was coming off a confidence-boosting run to the semifinals of the 2013 U.S. Open, beating reigning chammpion Andy Murray along the way.dddddddddddd ... His victory cracked the streak of the so-called Big 4 — who had combined to win the previous 16 major titles — and started a year in which there were four different Grand Slam winners — including two first-timers. ... He lost in the first round at the French, but reached the quarterfinals at Wimbledon and the U.S. Open and capped the year by helping Switzerland win its first Davis Cup title.___KEI NISHKORISeeded: 5Ranked: 5Age: 25Country: Japan2014 Match Record: 54-142014 Singles Titles: 4Career Singles Titles: 7Major Titles: 0 — Best-F, U.S. Open (14).Last 5 Australian Opens: 14-4th, 13-4th, 12-QF, 11-3rd, 10-DNPTopspin: Set a series of tennis milestones for men from Asia in 2014. .... Reached his first Grand Slam final, beating Wawrinka and Djokovic before losing to Marin Cilic at the U.S. Open. ... Reached a career-high No. 5 ranking, making him the highest-ranked man from Asia in tour history. ... Was the first man from Asia to qualify for the season-ending championship, where he went 2-1 in round-robin play before losing to Djokovic in the semis. ... Was 11-7 vs. top 10 opponents in 2014. ... Helped Japan reach the Davis Cup quarterfinals. ... Widely considered one of the next generation of major winners, although says the Australian Open might be slightly too soon. ... His run to the 2011 Australian Open quarterfinals was his best run at a major until last years U.S. Open. ... His even temperament on court and consistency are valuable attributes in two-week tournament.___ANDY MURRAYSeeded: 6Ranked: 6Age: 27Country: Britain2014 Match Record: 59-202014 Singles Titles: 3Career Singles Titles: 31Major Titles: 2 — U.S. Open (12), Wimbledon (13)Last 5 Australian Opens: 14-QF, 13-F, 12-SF 11-F, 10-FTopspin: A regular contender at Melbourne Park, where he has reached three Australian Open finals without winning the big prize. ... His quarterfinal exit last year was his worst run at the seasons first major since 09. ... Lived under the burden of intense expectations in Britain until he won his first major title at the 2012 U.S. Open. ... He quickly followed that up by ending the long drought for British men at Wimbledon with his triumph there in 2013. ... Went through a long stretch of not reaching finals after his win at Wimbledon and dropped out of the top 10 for the first time since 2008, but went on a roll starting in mid-September, winning 20 of his 23 matches in a six-week period to capture three titles. ... Coached by Amelie Mauresmo since last June.____MILOS RAONICSeeded: 8Ranked: 8Age: 24Country: Canada2014 Match Record: 49-202014 Singles Titles: 1Career Singles Titles: 6Major Titles: 0 — Best: SF, Wimbledon (14)Last 5 Australian Opens: 14-3rd, 13-4th, 12-3rd, 11-4th, 10-Did Not Play.Topspin: One of the most promising up-and-coming players on the tour. ... Had a big 2014, becoming the first Canadian man to finish in the top 10, the first to surpass $2 million in prize money in a season and the first to reach a Grand Slam semifinal. ... Lost to Federer in the Wimbledon semifinals, after losing to Djokovic in the quarterfinals of the French Open. ... He is tall and agile and has a big, reliable serve — finished No. 2 on the tour in aces (1,107) and first-service points (85 per cent) last season. ... Says the biggest area of improvement in the off-season was on his serve. ... Lost in the final of the season-opening Brisbane International to Federer, when the Swiss great notched his 1,000th career match win.___GRIGOR DIMITROVSeeded: 10Ranked: 11Age: 23Country: Bulgaria2014 Match Record: 50-182014 Singles Titles: 3Career Singles Titles: 4Major Titles: 0 — Best: SF, Wimbledon (14)Last 5 Australian Opens: 14-QF, 13-1st, 12-2nd, 11-2nd, 10-DNP.Topspin: Has been nicknamed Baby Fed for the similarity of his game to Federers, but made a name for himself last year by winning titles on three surfaces and reaching first major semifinal at Wimbledon, where he beat 2013 champion Murray in the quarterfinals before losing to eventual champion Djokovic. ... Reached the quarterfinals at the last Australian Open, losing to Nadal to kick off his first 50-win season. ... Uses a stylish, single-handed backhand to good effect.___Follow John Pye on Twitter at http://twitter.com/byJohnPye ' ' '