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Posted On Tuesday, 12.09.2014 / 3:30 PM

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

At the Rink: Predators at Avalanche

DENVER -- Calvin Pickard is quite the practical goalie, with logos of the Colorado Avalanche and Lake Erie Monsters painted on his mask. He's played 20 games this season, seven with the Avalanche, and 13 with the Cleveland-based American Hockey League team.

Pickard was recalled for the third time this season Monday and will start for the Avalanche against the Nashville Predators at Pepsi Center on Tuesday because goalie Semyon Varlamov is expected to miss about two weeks with his third groin injury of the season.  

"I'm comfortable playing at this level and I'm excited about the confidence they have in me," Pickard said after the morning skate. "We have to get this thing back on the right track. I was playing good hockey down in Cleveland; the team is jelling."

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Posted On Monday, 12.01.2014 / 3:35 PM

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

At the Rink: Canadiens at Avalanche

DENVER -- Pierre-Alexandre Parenteau will play against his former Colorado Avalanche teammates at Pepsi Center on Monday for the first time when the Montreal Canadiens open a three-game road trip.

Parenteau and Avalanche right wing Daniel Briere, who were traded for each other June 30, played at Bell Centre Oct. 18 in a 3-2 Canadiens win.

"I have some butterflies; I'm excited to be back," Parenteau said after the morning skate. "I had a really good time here, made a lot of good friends. It's going to be special tonight. We're playing some good hockey this year and I'm looking forward to this challenge."

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Posted On Saturday, 11.29.2014 / 3:12 PM

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

At the Rink: Stars at Avalanche

DENVER -- Rookie goalie Calvin Pickard will make his second consecutive start when the Colorado Avalanche play the Dallas Stars at Pepsi Center on Saturday and has a chance to supplant struggling Reto Berra as Semyon Varlamov's backup.

Pickard, 22, has stopped 84 of 87 shots in his past three games, two of which came in relief of Berra, who was replaced in the first period of both games. Pickard made a career-high 42 saves in the Avalanche's 3-2 loss to the Chicago Blackhawks on Wednesday, after making a combined 42 saves without allowing a goal in back-to-back relief wins against the Carolina Hurricanes and Arizona Coyotes.

Avalanche coach Patrick Roy said that Pickard, who was recalled from the Lake Erie Monsters of the American Hockey League for a second time on Nov. 18, would not be sent back to the AHL once Varlamov recovers from his groin injury if a decision had to be made now.

"We'll see, things could change. Right now he deserves to stay," said Roy, who said the Avalanche will not carry three goalies when Varlamov is healthy.

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Posted On Wednesday, 11.26.2014 / 3:48 PM

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

At the Rink: Blackhawks at Avalanche

DENVER -- With four wins in their past five games, the Colorado Avalanche are in position to reach the .500 mark for the first time this season, but they'll need to defeat the Chicago Blackhawks at Pepsi Center on Wednesday.

The injury-riddled Avalanche (8-9-5) will start rookie goalie Calvin Pickard because Semyon Varlamov remains out with a groin injury and Reto Berra is struggling. Top defenseman Erik Johnson will be a game-time decision. He left in overtime Tuesday after sustaining a head injury in a collision with Arizona Coyotes forward Martin Hanzal in the Avalanche's come-from-behind 4-3 win.

Down to five healthy defensemen, the Avalanche recalled Karl Stollery from the Lake Erie Monsters of the American Hockey League in case Johnson can't play. Varlamov was placed on injured reserve retroactive to Nov. 15 to make room for Stollery on the active roster.

Stollery, 27, had three goals and four assists in 16 games with Lake Erie. He made his NHL debut last season when he played in two games with Colorado.

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Posted On Saturday, 11.22.2014 / 3:05 PM

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

At the Rink: Hurricanes at Avalanche

DENVER -- The Colorado Avalanche are so ravaged by injuries that they needed to call up an entire line from the Lake Erie Monsters of the American Hockey League in order to have a full lineup against the Carolina Hurricanes at Pepsi Center on Saturday.

Left wing Andrew Agozzino, center Ben Street and right wing Tomas Vincour played together with the Monsters and will do so against the Hurricanes because six of the nine injured Avalanche players are forwards.

"That's what we were all laughing about, all three of us going at once," Street said Saturday morning. "I don't know if that's happened many times before. We're excited. It's nice that we have familiar linemates. Sometimes when you come up you're thrown into a position that you're not used to, with guys you're not used to, and it can take a little bit to get used to. Hopefully we can skip that stage and maybe get going right off the bat."

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Posted On Thursday, 11.20.2014 / 3:27 PM

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

At the Rink: Capitals at Avalanche

DENVER -- The Colorado Avalanche aren't spending a lot of time studying the NHL standings, which isn't surprising considering their 6-8-5 record heading into their game Thursday against the Washington Capitals at Pepsi Center.

The Avalanche had a 14-5-0 record through 19 games last season when they finished a surprising first in the Central Division.

"I won't lie to you, I was looking more at the standings last year than this year," Avalanche coach Patrick Roy said. "You know what? We have a different approach than last time. We play Washington [Thursday] and we want to focus on Washington. Let's play [Thursday] and put all our energy on Washington, focus on them."

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Posted On Thursday, 11.06.2014 / 4:28 PM

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

At the Rink: Maple Leafs at Avalanche

DENVER -- The Colorado Avalanche are banking on a new defensive-zone coverage system to eliminate the amount of time they have been spending in their end while cutting down on the number of shots they've been allowing, an average of 35.5 per game.

The Avalanche will try it out Thursday against the Toronto Maple Leafs at Pepsi Center.

"We're going to make some changes," Avalanche coach Patrick Roy said after the morning skate. "The fact that we're spending too much time in our end becomes a problem and you always try to find solutions. We need to find a way to play that our players are going to be very comfortable with, and that's what we're going to work on.

"I think it's going to simplify a lot of things. There's going to be more support (from the forwards) in our zone. We might not be perfect tonight, but these guys have been playing the zone for pretty much their entire career. I think it's an adjustment that could be made pretty easy in some ways. We practiced a bit with it this morning and I think we're going to be fine with it."

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Posted On Tuesday, 11.04.2014 / 4:03 PM

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

At the Rink: Canucks at Avalanche

DENVER -- One-goal games have been a bane for the Colorado Avalanche, who have played in eight of them and won once. It's been a major problem in their slow start to the season.

The Avalanche (3-5-5) are in last place in the Central Division and need to get on a roll starting with their game against the Vancouver Canucks (8-4-0) on Tuesday at Pepsi Center.

"We look at the standings and we know where we're at," right wing Jarome Iginla said after the morning skate. "We need to start climbing. We need to start getting some wins back. This is an important game for us, we all know that."

Iginla has two goals in the first 13 games and each came Oct. 24 in the Avalanche's 7-3 win against the Canucks, who were tired after playing the night before. That won't be the case Tuesday.

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Posted On Sunday, 11.02.2014 / 2:18 PM

By Rick Sadowski  -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 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  -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 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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Quote of the Day

I've been so fortunate, blessed, to play a long time with some great players and be on power plays, play in some great cities and stuff. It's been fun.

— Avalanche forward Jarome Iginla on tying Dino Ciccarelli for 46th place on the NHL's all-time list with his 1,200th career point after their win vs. the Predators on Friday