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Posted On Sunday, 11.02.2014 / 2:18 PM

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

At the Rink: Ducks vs. Avalanche

DENVER -- It's hard to fathom an Anaheim Ducks lineup that features high-scoring forwards like Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry having problems scoring goals.

Not that it has mattered much, since the Ducks lead the Western Conference with a 9-3-0 record heading into their game Sunday against the Colorado Avalanche at Pepsi Center.

The Ducks scored three goals in the first three games of their four-game road trip and won two of them, thanks to stingy defense and strong goaltending from Frederik Andersen and John Gibson.

Perry is among NHL leaders with 10 goals, but he went three games without a point before scoring a goal and an assist Friday in the Ducks 2-1 shootout win against the Dallas Stars.

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Posted On Thursday, 10.30.2014 / 3:16 PM

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

At the Rink: Islanders at Avalanche

DENVER -- Colorado Avalanche coach Patrick Roy is as surprised as anyone that Calder Trophy winner Nathan MacKinnon hasn't scored a goal this season.

"If you said to me after 10 games Nate would have zero goals, I would never believe that," Roy said. "Unfortunately, it is what it is."

Roy and MacKinnon, who scored 24 goals as a rookie last season, are hopeful he'll end his slump Thursday when the Avalanche play the New York Islanders at Pepsi Center.

"I'm not worried. I think I'm playing pretty solid," said MacKinnon, who has four assists and 28 shots on goal. "I had some chances last game. Everybody has a next level to bring here, which is exciting. I feel like everybody is motivated to play a little bit better and obviously I'm definitely a part of that group.

"Hopefully things change [Thursday]. The worst thing I can do is worry every night. It's a long season and we have lots of games left. Hopefully when one comes the net gets a little bigger. I don't want to change my game. I'm feeling good."

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Posted On Tuesday, 10.28.2014 / 3:30 PM

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

At the Rink: Sharks at Avalanche

DENVER -- Jamie and Tye McGinn spent plenty of hours as children playing hockey in the backyard of their home in Fergus, Ontario, while hoping for the chance to make it as professionals.

They realized that dream and will play against each other for the first time since then Tuesday at Pepsi Center when Jamie's Colorado Avalanche face off against Tye's San Jose Sharks.

"It's one that was marked on the calendar," said Jamie, 26, a 6-foot-1, 210-pound left wing. "It'll be very exciting. We have our family here, so we're super excited, but I also have to focus on playing tonight, and playing hard."

Jamie, Tye, their parents, maternal grandparents and an aunt will be in attendance after having a family dinner Monday night.

"We were just enjoying the time," said Tye, 24, a 6-2, 205-pound left wing. "We don't get to spend too much together unless it's the offseason. Playing in the backyard was fun and this is going to be pretty special."

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Posted On Friday, 10.24.2014 / 3:42 PM

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

At the Rink: Canucks at Avalanche

DENVER -- Maybe the return of goalie Semyon Varlamov will provide the Colorado Avalanche with the spark they need to secure their first home win of the season.

Varlamov, a Vezina Trophy finalist last season, will start Friday against the Vancouver Canucks at Pepsi Center after missing three games to recover from a groin injury.

But coach Patrick Roy said every player will need to be at their best if the Avalanche (1-4-2) are going to turn things around.

"I want us to be ready individually tonight," he said. "I want our guys to go home this afternoon and think individually what they need to do for tonight's game: win their battles, skate hard, be sharp around their net. If we're doing a good job individually, I think we'll have a good night.

"I'm not nervous about the X's and O's and stuff like that. Everybody understands the system, everybody knows what we expect. But I think we need to be better individually. We always try to be positive, and it's normal with a young group, but at the same time our game management needs to be a little bit better and more consistent."

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Posted On Tuesday, 10.21.2014 / 3:02 PM

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

At the Rink: Panthers at Avalanche

DENVER -- Florida Panthers coach Gerard Gallant is aware the Colorado Avalanche have struggled to score goals this season -- nine in six games -- and is hopeful they won't break out Tuesday at Pepsi Center.

"They haven't scored a lot but they have the potential to score a lot of goals," Gallant said after an optional morning skate. "With their talent and the skill over there it's just a matter of time, so hopefully it's not [Tuesday]."

The Panthers are in a similar situation with five goals in five games, but they've been getting strong goaltending from Roberto Luongo and Al Montoya while playing solid team defense. Montoya made 26 saves Saturday when the Panthers began a three-game trip with a 2-1 overtime loss to the Washington Capitals. Luongo, who will play Tuesday, has turned aside 48 of 49 shots in his past two starts.

"Hopefully we'll keep playing our game and shut them down and play a real solid game," Gallant said. "They're a dangerous team like Washington is a dangerous team. We have to make sure we're playing our game. We're working hard, we're having good gaps, not giving odd-man rushes. I think if we keep playing that way we'll have a chance to win every night."

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Posted On Saturday, 10.11.2014 / 3:22 PM

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

At the Rink: Wild at Avalanche

DENVER -- It didn't take long for Colorado Avalanche coach Patrick Roy to make lineup changes.

After watching the Avalanche get outshot 48-16 in a 5-0 loss to the Minnesota Wild on Thursday in the season opener, Roy will shuffle all four line combinations for the rematch Saturday at Pepsi Center.

"Looking at the guys, they were not happy with their performance," Roy said after the morning skate. "We know we have to be better than what we did. We didn't compete the way we wanted and the guys know that. This is the first test for it. We're going to have to regroup and be ready. We have to be a lot different."

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Posted On Wednesday, 04.30.2014 / 3:08 PM

By Rick Sadowski  - Correspondent / - Avalanche-Wild series blog

Avalanche's Duchene back home for Game 7

DENVER -- Center Matt Duchene will play his first home game in a month Wednesday when the Colorado Avalanche and Minnesota Wild play Game 7 of their Western Conference First Round series at Pepsi Center (9:30 p.m. ET; CNBC, TSN2, RDS, FS-N, ALT).

This will be Duchene's first game in the building since March 29, when he sustained a knee injury in a collision with teammate Jamie McGinn on their first shift against the San Jose Sharks.

"It's going to be awesome," said Duchene, who returned in Game 6, played nearly 19 minutes and had an assist in the Avalanche's 5 - 2 loss. "It was so hard for me to watch the intros for the games here and not be able to skate with the boys, so it's really going to be exciting to be a part of it tonight. It'll be fun to be out there in front of the home crowd. They've been unbelievable for us in the series.

"Usually your puck skills go away when you get hurt, but they stayed with me a little bit more this time. In terms of my foot speed and my skating, it has a long way to go. Hopefully we win tonight and I can continue to improve on that."

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Posted On Saturday, 04.26.2014 / 3:44 PM

By Rick Sadowski  - Correspondent / - Avalanche-Wild series blog

Duchene skates as Avalanche prepare for Game 5

DENVER -- Other than making some minor adjustments, the Colorado Avalanche are looking to get off to a fast start and feed off the energy of a friendly Pepsi Center crowd Saturday against the Minnesota Wild in Game 5 of the best-of-7 Western Conference First Round series (9:30 p.m. ET; NBCSN, RDS, TSN, FS-N, ALT).

Those roster adjustments won't include the return of forward Matt Duchene, who has resumed skating with the team. The home team has won each game in the series, which is tied 2-2.

"We will just tweak things here and there," Avalanche coach Patrick Roy said after the morning skate. "We're comfortable with a couple of things we're trying tonight, nothing very major."

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Posted On Friday, 04.25.2014 / 6:07 PM

By Rick Sadowski  - Correspondent / - Avalanche-Wild series blog

Avalanche say 'there's no panic in our room'

CENTENNIAL, Colo. -- After losing two consecutive road games with an offense that has suddenly gone cold, the Colorado Avalanche expressed confidence Friday they will turn things around Saturday at Pepsi Center against the Minnesota Wild in Game 5 of the best-of-7 Western Conference First Round series (9:30 p.m. ET; CNBC, RDS, TSN, FS-N, ALT).

"We know that we've got some areas to work on and some areas need to get better, but there's no panic in our room," Avalanche captain Gabriel Landeskog said. "We believe in ourselves. It's 2-2 and it's certainly going to be fun from here on. It's not easy to win on the road."

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Posted On Sunday, 04.20.2014 / 5:39 PM

By Rick Sadowski  - Correspondent / - Avalanche-Wild series blog

Duchene to skate with Avalanche; Mitchell travels too

DENVER -- Colorado Avalanche center Matt Duchene accompanied the team to Minnesota on Sunday and is expected to skate for the first time since injuring his knee March 29 against the San Jose Sharks when the team practices at Xcel Energy Center on Monday.

Center John Mitchell is also on the trip, though it isn't known if he'll attempt to skate. He hasn't been on the ice since sustaining a concussion April 10 against the Vancouver Canucks.

The Avalanche lead the Minnesota Wild 2-0 in their best-of-7 Western Conference First Round series. Game 3 is Monday (7 p.m. ET; RDS, TSN, NHLN-US, ALT, FS-N).

Duchene, who led the Avalanche in scoring with 70 points in 71 games, was expected to miss about four weeks after sustaining an injury to the medial collateral ligament in his left knee in a collision with linemate Jamie McGinn. He missed the final eight regular-season games, and coach Patrick Roy has been saying he doesn't expect Duchene to play in the series against the Wild.

"We'll see how it goes," Roy said before the Avalanche boarded their charter flight. "Our trainers are doing a really good job. They're working really hard and they're confident that Matt will continue to do well.

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Quote of the Day

I remember the first time at Wrigley Field all of us had the long johns, the turtlenecks and the extra equipment because we were afraid of being cold. Halfway through the first period everybody's ripping everything off and we just ended up wearing what we would normally wear for a game at the United Center.

— Chicago Blackhawks forward Patrick Sharp on the 2009 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic