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Posted On Wednesday, 03.04.2015 / 4:12 PM

By Rick Sadowski  -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2014-2015 At the Rink blog

At the Rink: Penguins at Avalanche

DENVER -- Colorado Avalanche right wing Nathan MacKinnon and Pittsburgh Penguins center Sidney Crosby are good friends who train together in the Halifax area during the summer. They'll play against each other at Pepsi Center for the first time Wednesday.

Neither scored Dec. 18 in Pittsburgh when the Penguins (36-17-9) outshot the Avalanche (27-25-11) 48-29 and won 1-0 in overtime. MacKinnon had six shots on goal; Crosby three.

"I know how good he is and what he can do out there," said Crosby, who hasn't played in Denver since Jan. 10, 2009 because of injuries or scheduling. "I'm not sure if we'll be matched up against one another or not, but there's always a little bit of competition there, I think."

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Posted On Saturday, 02.28.2015 / 10:46 PM

By Rick Sadowski  -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2015 NHL Trade Deadline blog

Avalanche GM Sakic says he intends to keep O'Reilly

DENVER -- Colorado Avalanche general manager Joe Sakic said Saturday he isn't interested in moving any core players, including center Ryan O'Reilly, and doesn't plan to make a short-term fix before the NHL Trade Deadline on Monday.

"We're in the thick of things right now," Sakic said of the race for a spot in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. "I've had conversations with different teams. We've had teams inquire about some of our guys. We're not going to go out and try to acquire somebody for a run. I don't think we're in a position to give up draft picks or prospects just to try and make a run this year."

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Posted On Saturday, 02.28.2015 / 3:15 PM

By Rick Sadowski  -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2014-2015 At the Rink blog

At the Rink: Wild at Avalanche

DENVER -- The Minnesota Wild have had their way with the Colorado Avalanche this season, outscoring them 9-0 in the first three games. But Wild coach Mike Yeo isn't taking anything for granted at Pepsi Center on Saturday.

"I'm expecting their best tonight," Yeo said. "I'm expecting probably the hardest game."

The Wild defeated the Avalanche 5-0, 3-0 and 1-0 in the first three games, outshooting them by a combined 111-64. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, no NHL team has shut out the same team four consecutive times in the same season since 1928, when the Pittsburgh Pirates did it against the Boston Bruins.

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Posted On Sunday, 02.22.2015 / 5:45 PM

By Rick Sadowski  -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2014-2015 At the Rink blog

At the Rink: Lightning at Avalanche

DENVER -- The Tampa Bay Lightning close out their four-game road trip through the Western Conference when they play the Colorado Avalanche at Pepsi Center on Sunday.

The Lightning (37-18-6) have gone 3-1-0 in the first four games of the trip. They defeated the Arizona Coyotes 4-2 on Saturday and are in second place in the Atlantic Division, one point behind the Montreal Canadiens.

The Avalanche (25-23-11) are 3-1-0 in their past four games and seven points behind the Calgary Flames, who have the second wild-card Stanley Cup Playoff position in the Western Conference.

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Posted On Wednesday, 02.18.2015 / 3:06 PM

By Rick Sadowski  -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2014-2015 At the Rink blog

At the Rink: Kings at Avalanche

DENVER -- It took a while, but the Los Angeles Kings have climbed back into the Stanley Cup Playoff race, thanks to a five-game winning streak.

The defending Stanley Cup champions play the Colorado Avalanche, another team battling for their postseason lives, at Pepsi Center on Wednesday.

The Kings (26-18-12) are two points behind the San Jose Sharks for the second wild-card spot in the Western Conference. The Avalanche (24-22-11), who have won two games in a row, are seven points behind. They're playing each other for the first time this season.

"We knew we never should have been as far back as we were," Kings defenseman Drew Doughty said. "We weren't playing even close to our capability, and now we're seeing what we can do when everyone starts to perform. We're happy with the way we're playing now, but we can't get ahead of ourselves. We have to continue this, we need to keep winning. We're still not in a playoff spot, so we still have a lot of work left to do."

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Posted On Monday, 02.16.2015 / 2:52 PM

By Rick Sadowski  -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2014-2015 At the Rink blog

At the Rink: Coyotes at Avalanche

DENVER -- The Colorado Avalanche are hopeful that a sudden surge in their offensive game will continue against the Arizona Coyotes at Pepsi Center on Monday.

The Avalanche (23-22-11) are averaging 2.4 goals per game, but they scored 10 goals in the past three games and are coming off a 4-1 win Saturday against the Dallas Stars that ended their losing streak at four games.

"It's a start, for sure," said right wing Nathan MacKinnon, who has gone 10 games without a goal despite taking 31 shots. "It's coming, baby steps. Hopefully we can get rolling."

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Posted On Saturday, 02.14.2015 / 3:14 PM

By Rick Sadowski  -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2014-2015 At the Rink blog

At the Rink: Stars at Avalanche

DENVER -- The Dallas Stars' push for a berth in the Stanley Cup Playoffs has taken a major hit. General manager Jim Nill said center Tyler Seguin could miss 3-6 weeks to recover from a knee injury.

Dallas (26-21-8) will also be without forwards Patrick Eaves (concussion) and Ales Hemsky (lower body) when they play the Colorado Avalanche at Pepsi Center on Saturday.

Seguin, Eaves and Hemsky were injured Friday in the Stars' 2-0 win against the Florida Panthers. Another forward, Antoine Roussel, will complete a two-game suspension for cross-checking Boston Bruins defenseman Adam McQuaid on Tuesday.

Seguin and Eaves were placed on injured reserve Saturday.

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Posted On Thursday, 02.12.2015 / 3:38 PM

By Rick Sadowski  -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2014-2015 At the Rink blog

At the Rink: Rangers at Avalanche

DENVER -- It's a good thing Colorado Avalanche defenseman Jan Hejda enjoys a challenge. He and defense partner Zach Redmond will have their hands full against the New York Rangers at Pepsi Center on Thursday.

Avalanche coach Patrick Roy said he will put Hejda and Redmond on the ice as much as possible against the Rangers' high-scoring line of Mats Zuccarello, Derick Brassard and Rick Nash.

Hejda is very familiar with Nash, who is tied with the Washington Capitals' Alex Ovechkin for the NHL lead in goals with 33. They were teammates with the Columbus Blue Jackets for four seasons before Hejda joined the Avalanche as a free agent in 2011.

"Even in Columbus he was one of the top 10 guys in the League," Hejda said of the 6-foot-4, 220-pound Nash. "He's a very strong guy. He has good skill, but I think his big advantage is he's super strong. Most of my career I've played against the top guys, so I have some experience to play against these guys.

"It's kind of a similar style playing against Jaromir Jagr. (Nash) is strong around the net and you have to be in good position every time against him because he can change a game. I have no problems playing against the top lines every night. I'm proud of my role. This is my job and I'm very happy to have it. If we can shut them down, this is the same feeling for me if I score a goal."

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Posted On Thursday, 02.05.2015 / 3:52 PM

By Rick Sadowski  -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2014-2015 At the Rink blog

At the Rink: Red Wings at Avalanche

DENVER -- Colorado Avalanche defenseman Tyson Barrie has a hip flexor injury and won't play against the Detroit Red Wings at Pepsi Center on Thursday.

Barrie's injury leaves the Avalanche (22-18-11) without their top two defensemen. Erik Johnson underwent arthroscopic knee surgery Jan. 26 and is expected to miss at least two more weeks.

Avalanche coach Patrick Roy said Barrie should be able to play Saturday against the Minnesota Wild when the Avalanche open a two-game road trip.

Stefan Elliott will replace Barrie, who has five goals and 25 assists in 51 games. Elliott was recalled Jan. 29 from the Lake Erie Monsters in the American Hockey League. Elliott had 12 goals and 14 assists in 40 games with Lake Erie and played in the AHL All-Star Game.

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Posted On Friday, 01.30.2015 / 3:10 PM

By Rick Sadowski  -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2014-2015 At the Rink blog

At the Rink: Predators at Avalanche

DENVER -- Colorado Avalanche coach Patrick Roy said this season's Nashville Predators remind him of last season's Avalanche.

The Predators, who play the Avalanche on Friday at Pepsi Center, are leading the Central Division under coach Peter Laviolette, who replaced Barry Trotz in May.

Roy, in his first season with the Avalanche last season, led the Avs to the Central title.

"It's a very confident team," Roy said of the Predators (31-10-6), who are two points behind the Anaheim Ducks for the best record in the League after missing the Stanley Cup Playoffs last season. "It's a team that really believes in themselves. Their coaching staff deserves a lot of credit for that."

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Quote of the Day

It's something that you don't really envision starting this way, but when you put the work in you don't feel like it's unwarranted. You definitely don't envision it unfolding this way, but you do think you can be successful at this level.

— Senators goalie Andrew Hammond, who defeated the Jets on Wednesday to improve to 6-0-1 since making his first NHL start on Feb. 18