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Posted On Thursday, 01.08.2015 / 4:13 PM

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

At the Rink: Senators at Avalanche

DENVER -- The Colorado Avalanche will reach the halfway point of the season when they play the Ottawa Senators at Pepsi Center on Thursday knowing they have plenty of work to do to move into contention for the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

The Avalanche (16-16-8, 40 points) are seven points behind the Winnipeg Jets (20-13-7, 47 points) for the second wild-card position in the Western Conference. They've won three of their past four games and have gone 7-3-2 in the past 12.

"I think the last few weeks we've grown as a team," Avalanche captain Gabriel Landeskog said. "I think we've gotten better as the season has gone along, but we certainly want to improve. We know we have to improve to get to the playoffs. We have an opportunity tonight to keep going on home ice, where we've played pretty solid hockey as of late and we want to keep that up."

Posted On Sunday, 01.04.2015 / 2:47 PM

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

At the Rink: Blue Jackets at Avalanche

DENVER -- While the Colorado Avalanche are still having trouble scoring goals, their improvement on defense has resulted in a 6-2-2 run they'll test against the Columbus Blue Jackets at Pepsi Center on Sunday.

The Avalanche (15-15-8) have allowed one goal or fewer in five of those games, and they've given up more than three goals once in this stretch.

"We're playing very well defensively," coach Patrick Roy said. "We've been giving less and less goals, which is very good for us. Now we just need to get some confidence offensively and I think we'll be in a good position."

Posted On Friday, 01.02.2015 / 3:40 PM

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

At the Rink: Oilers at Avalanche

DENVER -- The Colorado Avalanche and Edmonton Oilers will have different looks for different reasons when they play at Pepsi Center on Friday.

The Avalanche (14-15-8) are changing line combinations in an attempt to help center Matt Duchene and Nathan MacKinnon end scoring slumps.

The Oilers (8-22-8) traded left wing David Perron to the Pittsburgh Penguins on Friday in exchange for center Rob Klinkhammer and a first-round pick in the 2015 NHL Draft. They have lost defenseman Keith Aulie to a two-game suspension; left wing Benoit Pouliot will return after recovering from a broken foot; and center Anton Lander will play after being recalled from the Oklahoma City Barons of the American Hockey League.

"It's a transition we can make," Oilers interim coach Todd Nelson said of losing Perron and adding Pouliot. "We add a quality forward to our lineup tonight with experience, so certainly he can help. We'll also get a good look at Anton tonight."

Posted On Wednesday, 12.31.2014 / 3:00 PM

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

At the Rink: Flyers at Avalanche

DENVER -- The Colorado Avalanche and Philadelphia Flyers will close 2014 on Wednesday at Pepsi Center hoping for better things in the New Year.

The Avalanche (13-15-8) have lost two games in a row and are last in the Central Division after finishing first last season. The Flyers (14-16-6) also have lost two in a row with three games left on an eight-game road trip. They're fifth in the Metropolitan Division after finishing third last season and earning a place in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

The Avalanche's inability to generate offense on a consistent basis despite a number of talented forwards has been a major problem. They've been shut out six times. Not counting goals awarded in shootouts, they've scored more than three goals in seven games.

Posted On Saturday, 12.27.2014 / 3:38 PM

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

At the Rink: Blackhawks at Avalanche

DENVER -- Colorado Avalanche rookie goalie Calvin Pickard will start against the Chicago Blackhawks for the second time in a month at Pepsi Center on Saturday, hoping to play as well, but with a different outcome.

Pickard made 42 saves on Nov. 26 in the Avalanche's 3-2 loss to the Blackhawks when Bryan Bickell broke a 2-2 tie with 5:17 remaining in the third period. The Avalanche were outshot 45-29.

"Last time I had a pretty good game against them," Pickard said. "It's too bad we lost at the end of the game. It's always a fun game between these two teams."

Posted On Saturday, 12.13.2014 / 4:12 PM

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

At the Rink: Blues at Avalanche

DENVER -- Paul Stastny found it necessary to follow his St. Louis Blues teammates in order to find the visitors’ locker room at Pepsi Center on Saturday.

"I didn't know which entrance to go in, I didn't know where the change rooms were," said Stastny.

The 28-year-old will play against the Colorado Avalanche for the first time since leaving in free agency and signing a four-year, $28 million contract with the Blues.

"A lot of guys go through this in their careers at least once," he said. "I'm excited, it'll be fun. I have a lot of family and friends here, so it should be a good time. I'll just try to have fun with it and enjoy it."

Posted On Thursday, 12.11.2014 / 3:25 PM

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

At the Rink: Jets at Avalanche

DENVER -- The Winnipeg Jets will attempt to continue their winning ways on the road when they play the Colorado Avalanche at Pepsi Center on Thursday.

The Jets (15-9-5) have picked up at least one point in five consecutive road games (3-0-2) and their road record (9-4-3, 21 points) is second best in the NHL, two points behind the Vancouver Canucks.

"Keeping it simple," Jets center Bryan Little said. "There's not really any pressure playing on the road. We play a really simple game and I think we play even more simple when we're on the road. Each rink we're the underdogs and we have that simple go-to-work kind of attitude. It's been working for us. We come into each rink believing we can win."

The Jets are fourth in the Central Division and hold the first Western Conference wild-card spot in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Winnipeg missed the playoffs its first three seasons after the franchise moved from Atlanta in 2011.

Posted On Tuesday, 12.09.2014 / 3:30 PM

By Rick Sadowski  - Correspondent / - 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."

Posted On Monday, 12.01.2014 / 3:35 PM

By Rick Sadowski  - Correspondent / - 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."

Posted On Saturday, 11.29.2014 / 3:12 PM

By Rick Sadowski  - Correspondent / - 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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