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Posted On Saturday, 11.28.2015 / 3:03 PM

By Rick Sadowski  - Correspondent / - 2015-16 At the Rink blog

At the Rink: Jets at Avalanche

DENVER -- Winnipeg Jets coach Paul Maurice wouldn't say which goalie, Michael Hutchinson or rookie Connor Hellebuyck, he will use against the Colorado Avalanche on Saturday at Pepsi Center (10 p.m. ET; ALT, SN).

"I'm not giving you my goalie tonight," Maurice said. "The answer to the decision that I'll make, I'm going to put both these goaltenders in a position to succeed for an extended period of time. We want both of these guys to seize the opportunity to be in a position to do that."

Regardless of who plays, Maurice is hopeful the Jets (11-11-2) will be as strong defensively as they were Friday for Hellebuyck, who made 14 saves in a 3-1 road win against the Minnesota Wild in his NHL debut.

"We did a pretty fine job in front of that net making sure he could see (shots), and he did a good job stopping them," Maurice said. "We stayed out of the penalty box and still found a way to play a very physical game; that was a real key point. We didn't cheat on any plays and we weren't trying to squeeze offense out of a game that there wasn't a lot of offense in. We still got our chances to score. Our chances against were the smallest number since I've been in Winnipeg. Our challenge is to throw another one just like that in here."

Posted On Wednesday, 11.25.2015 / 3:11 PM

By Rick Sadowski  - Correspondent / - 2015-16 At the Rink blog

At the Rink: Senators at Avalanche

DENVER -- After being away for two weeks, the Colorado Avalanche play the Ottawa Senators at Pepsi Center on Wednesday (9:30 p.m. ET; ALT, RDS, TSN5), their first home game since Nov. 6.

The Avalanche (8-12-1) went 4-3-0 on the road trip and need to start reeling off some wins at home, where they've gone 2-5-1. They'll also play the Winnipeg Jets on the two-game homestand.

"Our home record isn't good enough," said Matt Duchene, who is playing right wing on a line with left wing Gabriel Landeskog and center Nathan MacKinnon. "We have to make these two count. We have these guys tonight, and they're playing very well, and then Winnipeg, and they're always tough. We want to go 2-0, nothing less on this homestand."

Posted On Tuesday, 11.03.2015 / 4:24 PM

By Rick Sadowski  - Correspondent / - 2015-16 At the Rink blog

At the Rink: Flames at Avalanche

DENVER -- The Calgary Flames and Colorado Avalanche have gotten off to similar disappointing starts heading into their game Tuesday at Pepsi Center (9 p.m. ET; SNF, ALT).

The Flames (3-8-1) are in sixth place in the Pacific Division and snapped a four-game losing streak Saturday with a 5-4 win against the Edmonton Oilers. They've gone 2-7-1 in their past 10 games and have a better road record (2-3-1) than they have at home (1-5-0).

The Avalanche (3-7-1) are in last place in the Central Division, have gone 1-5-1 in their past seven games, and also are better on the road (2-3-0) than at home (1-4-1).

Avalanche coach Patrick Roy said he hasn't commiserated with Flames coach and friend Bob Hartley about their respective teams' struggles. Roy was the goalie and Hartley the Colorado coach when they won the Stanley Cup together in 2001.

"No, I don't want to hear his problems and he doesn't want to hear my problems," Roy said. "I think he's having enough and I have enough. Let's worry about our teams right now."

Posted On Sunday, 11.01.2015 / 12:13 PM

By Rick Sadowski  - Correspondent / - 2015-16 At the Rink blog

At the Rink: Sharks at Avalanche

DENVER -- Something has to give Sunday when the struggling Colorado Avalanche and slumping San Jose Sharks play at Pepsi Center.

The Avalanche (3-6-1) are 1-4-1 in their past six games. The Sharks (5-5-0) have lost five of their past six games after beginning the season with four wins.

Neither team skated Sunday because of the 3 p.m. ET start.

Posted On Saturday, 10.24.2015 / 3:02 PM

By Rick Sadowski  - Correspondent / - 2015-16 At the Rink blog

At the Rink: Blue Jackets at Avalanche

DENVER -- The winless Columbus Blue Jackets won't have leading scorer Ryan Johansen when they play the Colorado Avalanche on Saturday at Pepsi Center (9 p.m., ET; ALT, FS-O).

Johansen became ill Saturday morning and returned to Columbus on a commercial flight with an assistant trainer for further evaluation.

"He just didn't feel well today," Blue Jackets coach John Tortorella said. "We knew he wasn't going to play, he didn't feel well enough. We wanted to get him home, take care of him, get him evaluated as quickly as possible so we can get an idea of where we're going to go with it."

Posted On Wednesday, 10.21.2015 / 3:30 PM

By Rick Sadowski  - Correspondent / - 2015-16 At the Rink blog

At the Rink: Hurricanes at Avalanche

DENVER -- Goalie Semyon Varlamov, who struggled in the Colorado Avalanche's first three games, will start Wednesday against the Carolina Hurricanes at Pepsi Center (10 p.m. ET; FS-CR, ALT) after serving as Reto Berra's backup the past two games.

Varlamov has a 1-2-0 record with a 5.06 goals-against average and .841 save percentage.

"He's our No. 1 goalie and I think it's time for him (to play)," Avalanche coach Patrick Roy said. "He's been practicing really well. I think he's ready to play a strong game for us."

The game Wednesday opens an important two-game homestand for Colorado. The Avalanche (2-3-0) lost two of their first three home games and play 11 of 14 games on the road after closing the homestand Saturday against the Columbus Blue Jackets.

"I think it's an important moment in our season," Avalanche coach Patrick Roy said. "Any team that's 2-3 and has two games at home would love to go on the road 4-3, but we can't take anything for granted."

Posted On Wednesday, 10.14.2015 / 3:20 PM

By Rick Sadowski  - Correspondent / - 2015-16 At the Rink blog

At the Rink: Bruins at Avalanche

DENVER -- The Boston Bruins hope playing their first road game will be the tonic they need to win their first game when they play the Colorado Avalanche at Pepsi Center on Wednesday.

The Bruins, outscored 16-7 while being swept on a three-game homestand to open the season, will complete the two-game trip Saturday against the Arizona Coyotes.

"It's not a bad thing and it's not just because of wins and losses," Bruins coach Claude Julien said of getting away from TD Garden. "Even if we had won our first three games I'd be happy to be going on the road to get our team together. There's some teams that have had good success out of the gate by being on the road, just going out there and being together. There's probably a little less pressure playing away from home."

Julien said goalie Jonas Gustavsson will make his first start, but not because Tuukka Rask has a 4.72 goals-against average and .846 save percentage.

Posted On Saturday, 10.10.2015 / 3:27 PM

By Rick Sadowski  - Correspondent / - 2015-16 At the Rink blog

At the Rink: Stars at Avalanche

DENVER -- The Colorado Avalanche will be seeking redemption Saturday when they play the Dallas Stars at Pepsi Center (9 p.m. ET; ALT, FS-SW).

The Avalanche allowed four goals in a 5:07 stretch of the third period Thursday in a 5-4 season-opening loss to the Minnesota Wild.

"I am very curious to see how we're going to play when we step on the ice at the start of the game," said Avalanche coach Patrick Roy, who accentuated the positive in meetings the past two days, emphasizing the things the Avalanche did well to take a 4-1 lead into the third period.

Posted On Thursday, 10.08.2015 / 3:13 PM

By Rick Sadowski  - Correspondent / - 2015-16 At the Rink blog

At the Rink: Wild at Avalanche

DENVER -- The Colorado Avalanche begin their 20th season Thursday knowing they're in for a difficult test against the Minnesota Wild at Pepsi Center.

The Wild went 4-1-0 against the Avalanche last season with shutouts in the first three games, and Minnesota has gone 15-3-3 in the past 21 regular season games in Denver.

"These are the kind of games you want to play in, especially at the start of the year; it gets you into the swing of things," Avalanche defenseman and Minnesota native Erik Johnson said. "I think for us it's awesome, it gets you into a playoff mentality right from the get-go. That's a good team, they play hard and fast, so it'll be a good test for us."

Posted On Saturday, 04.11.2015 / 4:32 PM

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

At the Rink: Blackhawks at Avalanche

DENVER -- The Chicago Blackhawks want to end the regular season on a positive note heading into the Stanley Cup Playoffs, regardless of their opponent in the Western Conference First Round.

The Blackhawks (48-27-6), who play the Colorado Avalanche at Pepsi Center on Saturday, would clinch the No. 3 seed in the Central Division with at least a point or if the Minnesota Wild lose to the St. Louis Blues.

Goalie Scott Darling will start against the Avalanche (38-31-12), who have won three of their past four games but have been eliminated from the postseason. They need a win to become the fifth team in the Central Division with at least 90 points.

The Blackhawks have lost three consecutive games, all by 2-1 scores. They've gone 0-for-11 on power plays in the past five games and allowed one power-play goal in three of the past four games.

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Quote of the Day

It's cool when you think about how many great American players have played the game and the two players that were at that 18-game point streak and what they've done in their careers. It's pretty cool right now, but it was kind of overshadowed by the loss.

— Blackhawks forward Patrick Kane after breaking the record for longest point streak by an American-born player with a goal and an assist in a 3-2 overtime loss against the Kings
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