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Posted On Monday, 03.30.2015 / 3:18 PM

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

At the Rink: Oilers at Avalanche

DENVER -- Center Ryan O'Reilly is playing his best hockey of the season, but he realizes it could be too late to help the Colorado Avalanche reach their goal of landing a place in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

O'Reilly has a seven-game scoring streak for the Avalanche, who play the Edmonton Oilers at Pepsi Center on Monday (9 p.m. ET; SN1, ALT) to conclude a two-game homestand.

The Avalanche (35-28-12) can close to within six points of the Winnipeg Jets for the second wild card into the Stanley Cup Playoffs if they can defeat the Oilers (22-40-13). They have seven games remaining, one more than the Jets.

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Posted On Saturday, 03.28.2015 / 3:16 PM

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

At the Rink: Sabres at Avalanche

DENVER -- The Colorado Avalanche know the odds are long, but they plan to play as if they still have a chance to make the Stanley Cup Playoffs, an approach they'll take against the Buffalo Sabres at Pepsi Center on Saturday (9 p.m. ET; MSG-B, BELL TV, ALT2).

The Avalanche (34-28-12) have eight games remaining and are 10 points behind the Winnipeg Jets for the second wild card into the Stanley Cup Playoffs from the Western Conference.

The Sabres (20-46-8) have the worst record in the NHL and have no chance at a playoff position. They've gone 1-8-3 in the past 12 games and will be without leading scorer Tyler Ennis, who sustained a left shoulder injury Thursday in a 4-3 overtime home loss against the Arizona Coyotes.

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Posted On Saturday, 03.14.2015 / 3:31 PM

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

At the Rink: Flames at Avalanche

DENVER -- Colorado Avalanche forwards Jarome Iginla and Alex Tanguay enjoyed their time with the Calgary Flames, but said they aren't interested in nostalgia. They're more concerned with defeating the Flames at Pepsi Center on Saturday to remain in the hunt for the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

The Avalanche (31-26-11) are six points behind the Los Angeles Kings for the second wild card spot into the Stanley Cup Playoffs from the Western Conference with 14 games remaining.

The Flames (38-25-5), who also have 14 games left, are in second place in the Pacific Division, one point ahead of the Vancouver Canucks and tied with the Minnesota Wild, who have the first wild card because they have fewer wins.

"We know we have to get to a certain amount of points to give ourselves a chance," said Iginla, who spent his first 15-plus NHL seasons with the Flames. "It's more about the Avalanche and trying to win an important game."

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Posted On Thursday, 03.12.2015 / 2:50 PM

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

At the Rink: Devils at Avalanche

DENVER -- Goalie Semyon Varlamov will start for the Colorado Avalanche when they play the New Jersey Devils at Pepsi Center on Thursday.

Varlamov, who was sat out Tuesday against the Los Angeles Kings because of a groin injury, told coach Patrick Roy he felt well enough to play Thursday after taking part in an optional morning skate.

"He said he was 100 percent and he will play," Roy said. "I have no doubt it's going to go well. If he would be 90 percent he would not play."

The Avalanche (30-26-11) and Devils (28-29-10) have plenty of ground to make up for any chance of making the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

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Posted On Tuesday, 03.10.2015 / 3:22 PM

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

At the Rink: Kings at Avalanche

DENVER -- Rookie goalie Calvin Pickard will start for the Colorado Avalanche against the Los Angeles Kings at Pepsi Center on Tuesday.

Pickard, 22, was recalled from the Lake Erie Monsters of the American Hockey League on Monday because Semyon Varlamov is day-to-day with a groin injury he sustained Sunday in the third period of the Avalanche's 3-2 win against the Minnesota Wild.

Pickard played in 15 games for the Avalanche earlier this season, and went 6-6-3 with a 2.18 goals-against average and .936 save percentage while Varlamov was out with a groin injury. He made 34 saves Sunday in a 1-0 victory against the Chicago Wolves for his record 52nd career win with Lake Erie.

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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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Quote of the Day

He scores 50 goals, they go in, they go in, and they go in. And I think, 'Why can't I do that?'

— Capitals forward Brooks Laich on teammate Alex Ovechkin, who scored his 50th goal of the season Tuesday in a 4-2 win vs. the Hurricanes