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Posted On Thursday, 01.30.2014 / 3:53 PM

By Rick Sadowski  -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Avalanche, Wild staying in race despite injuries

DENVER -- The Colorado Avalanche and Minnesota Wild, who each have overcome significant injuries to remain in the hunt for Stanley Cup Playoff berths, play for the final time this season Thursday at Pepsi Center.

The Avalanche have lost 110 man-games to injuries and the Wild 144, yet each is in a heated race for third place in the Central Division. Colorado enters with 71 points in 52 games while fourth-place Minnesota has 64 points in 55 games. Each team has gone 9-3-1 in January.

Avalanche right wing Alex Tanguay has returned to the lineup after missing 36 games with knee and hip injuries, while left wing Zach Parise is back with the Wild after sitting out 14 games with a foot injury. Tanguay has a game-winning goal and an assist in two games since rejoining the lineup. Parise has a game-winning goal and two assists in three games since coming back.

The Avalanche are 14-1-0 with Tanguay, who will play his first home game since he was injured Nov. 2 against the Montreal Canadiens.

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Posted On Tuesday, 01.21.2014 / 3:26 PM

By Rick Sadowski  -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Maple Leafs enjoy run; Parenteau back for Avalanche

DENVER -- It wasn't a coincidence that Toronto Maple Leafs center Tyler Bozak wore an orange-and-blue-striped dress shirt Tuesday while a handful of teammates took part in an optional skate at Pepsi Center.

Bozak is a Denver Broncos fan, and those are the Super Bowl-bound team's colors. Bozak, who attended the University of Denver for two years and makes his offseason home in Denver, is friends with Toronto native and Broncos offensive tackle Orlando Franklin, who will attend the game Tuesday between the Maple Leafs and Colorado Avalanche.

"I told him to bring Peyton [Manning], but I don't know if he's going to," said Bozak, who has been limited to 27 games because of hamstring and oblique injuries.

Bozak is excited about playing before friends and the fact the Maple Leafs have won five games in a row to move back into the hunt for a Stanley Cup Playoff berth.


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Posted On Thursday, 01.16.2014 / 4:30 PM

By Rick Sadowski  -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Devils to have Elias back in the lineup

DENVER -- The New Jersey Devils will have forward Patrik Elias back in the lineup Thursday against the Colorado Avalanche at Pepsi Center as they continue their push for a playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.

Elias has missed seven games with what the Devils called "total body soreness" following a Dec. 31 game against the Pittsburgh Penguins.

"Patty's going to play [Thursday]," Devils coach Peter DeBoer said after the team's morning skate. "He makes us 10 percent better in all kinds of different areas. I'm sure there's going to be a little rust on him after missing some time, but it's nice to have him back and it's a nice shot of energy for us halfway through this road trip."

DeBoer hadn't decided on how Elias' return would affect his line combinations.

"We might make some tweaks," he said, adding he would dress 11 forwards and seven defensemen.

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Posted On Friday, 01.10.2014 / 4:12 PM

By Rick Sadowski  -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Avalanche coach Roy familiar with Islanders' Poulin

DENVER -- Colorado Avalanche coach Patrick Roy once described Kevin Poulin as the best goalie in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League. Roy will see first-hand how much progress Poulin has made when he starts Friday for the New York Islanders at Pepsi Center.

Roy was coaching the Quebec Remparts when Poulin was playing for the Victoriaville Tigres. Now 23, Poulin was a fifth-round pick (No. 126) of the Islanders in the 2008 NHL Draft and is in his fourth season with the team.

"He played well in junior," Roy said. "We played him one year in the playoffs and he was outstanding. I thought he was the reason why their team beat us. I'm happy to see him have a bit of success. Unfortunately, we don't see too much about the Islanders, but he seems to be taking advantage of that opportunity.

"It's a team that's playing with a lot of confidence right now. In order to have a winning streak, you need to have good goaltending. I'm sure Kevin is doing that for them."


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Posted On Wednesday, 01.08.2014 / 4:04 PM

By Rick Sadowski  -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

O'Reilly out for Avalanche; Spezza back for Senators

DENVER -- The Colorado Avalanche will be without right wing Ryan O'Reilly for the first time this season Wednesday when they play the Ottawa Senators at Pepsi Center.

O'Reilly sustained a left shoulder injury Monday in the Avalanche's 4-3 loss to the Calgary Flames. John Mitchell will take his place on a line with Gabriel Landeskog and Paul Stastny. Rookie Nathan MacKinnon will move to left wing with Matt Duchene and Jamie McGinn.

The Avalanche also will need to shuffle the third and fourth lines. Marc-Andre Cliche will center the third line with Cody McLeod and Maxime Talbot, while Brad Malone will center the fourth line with David Van Der Gulik, who was recalled from Lake Erie of the American Hockey League, and Patrick Bordeleau.

Colorado is 3-1-1 in the first five games of a seven-game homestand and coming off that disappointing loss to the Flames.

"You always want to bounce back from a game like we played against Calgary," coach Patrick Roy said. "It will be important for us to finish the homestand on the right foot. We want to play well tonight, there's no doubt about it. We're playing a team that won their last four games and they're coming here with a lot of confidence."


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Posted On Monday, 01.06.2014 / 4:17 PM

By Rick Sadowski  -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Avalanche say they still fear goal-starved Flames

DENVER -- Colorado Avalanche coach Patrick Roy said it would be a mistake for his team to take the struggling Calgary Flames lightly Monday at Pepsi Center.

The Avalanche are in third place in the Central Division with 26 wins and 56 points in 41 games. They've won three games in a row and are 3-0-1 in the first four games of their seven-game homestand.

The Flames are sixth in the Pacific Division with 14 wins and 34 points. They've gone 1-6-2 in their past nine games and have scored one goal during a four-game losing streak.

"If we think we're going to have an easy game, we're wrong," Roy said. "[Calgary] is a team that's going to work hard. This is a team that's almost in every game. I know a lot of times they finish on the wrong side, but at the same time they're going to work hard and they're going to give us a good battle. We're going to have to be ready for these guys because I expect them to play a good game tonight."

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Posted On Saturday, 01.04.2014 / 11:13 AM

By Rick Sadowski  -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Avalanche forward Tanguay could have surgery

DENVER -- Colorado Avalanche coach Patrick Roy said he would know early next week whether injured right wing Alex Tanguay will need hip surgery.

Tanguay has been sidelined since he sustained knee and hip injuries in a Nov. 2 game against the Montreal Canadiens.

"Monday or Tuesday will be a big test for him," Roy said. "He's going to skate and if it goes well, we'll keep going [with his rehab program]. If it's not, then we're probably going to have to have surgery for his hip. That's where we are."

The Avalanche have gone 2-0-1 in the first three games of their seven-game homestand heading into the game Saturday against the San Jose Sharks at Pepsi Center.

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Posted On Thursday, 01.02.2014 / 4:28 PM

By Rick Sadowski  -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Talbot, Downie facing former teammates

DENVER -- Colorado Avalanche forward Maxime Talbot is looking forward to playing against his former Philadelphia Flyers teammates Thursday at Pepsi Center.

The teams are playing for the first time since the Avalanche acquired Talbot from the Flyers in exchange for forward Steve Downie on Oct. 31.

Talbot has three goals and six assists in 28 games since the trade and has been one of the Avalanche's top penalty killers. The Avalanche have gone 14-10-4 since the trade and enter Thursday in third place in the Central Division.

"It's fun," Talbot said. "I look forward to these games. It's exciting. You play against 20 guys that you battled with and that you know, the coaching staff, everybody. So it's always exciting and a little bit of fun. You look forward to it."

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Posted On Tuesday, 12.31.2013 / 3:10 PM

By Rick Sadowski  -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Blue Jackets expect festive atmosphere in Colorado

DENVER -- Columbus Blue Jackets coach Todd Richards is expecting a festive atmosphere Tuesday at Pepsi Center when his team faces the Colorado Avalanche.

"It's probably going to be a unique environment tonight, just being New Year's [Eve] and based on the success they have had so far this year," Richards said. "You can see it on TV. There's more people [attending games]. There is going to be more energy."

The Avalanche are playing at home on New Year's Eve for the third time since the franchise has been in Denver and the first time at Pepsi Center. The previous two games were played at McNichols Sports Arena in 1998 (a 6-3 loss to the New York Rangers) and 1997 (a 3-1 win against the New York Islanders).

Avalanche coach Patrick Roy is just interested in putting an end to the team's four-game losing streak (0-1-3) that includes two shootout losses and one in overtime.


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Posted On Sunday, 12.29.2013 / 2:17 PM

By Rick Sadowski  -  NHL.com Correspondent /NHL.com - 2013-2014 At the Rink Blog

Avalanche hoping to 'take care of business' at home

DENVER -- The Colorado Avalanche will try to end a three-game losing streak Sunday when they open a seven-game homestand against the Winnipeg Jets at Pepsi Center.

The Avalanche have gone 0-1-2 in their past three games, which included a 7-2 loss Friday to the Chicago Blackhawks at United Center.

"It's one of the key moments in our season," Avalanche coach Patrick Roy said of the homestand. "We've been looking at the schedule and we knew that we had this stretch coming up. We're in a good position in the standings and now we need to be red-hot at home."

The Avalanche won their two previous games against the Jets this season, 3-2 on Oct. 27 at Pepsi Center and 4-3 in a Dec. 12 shootout in Winnipeg. They are 12-5-1 at home.

"If we take care of business like we can at home and use the altitude to our advantage, we can really build a great foundation going forward for this year," Avalanche center Matt Duchene said. "It can be a huge turning point for us. We want to be one of those teams that goes north after Christmas, not south. We've done that in the past. You can make the playoffs or lose the playoffs in January, believe it or not. It's a huge homestand for us and we have to dominate at home."

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