Posted On Monday, 03.10.2014 / 4:38 PM

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

Avalanche minus Stastny against Jets

DENVER -- Colorado Avalanche center Paul Stastny has a back injury and won't play Monday against the Winnipeg Jets at Pepsi Center.

Stastny, who has 20 goals and 27 assists in 58 games, was injured on his first shift in the opening minute Saturday in the Avalanche's 2-1 loss to the St. Louis Blues.

Avalanche coach Patrick Roy said he had "no idea" when Stastny would be available, but is hopeful he'll be able to play Wednesday against the Chicago Blackhawks. Stastny missed two games earlier this season because of back spasms.

Rookie Nathan MacKinnon moved from right wing to center against the Blues after Stastny was injured and he'll be there again Monday, on a line with left wing Gabriel Landeskog and right wing Jamie McGinn, who has moved from the third line.

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Posted On Saturday, 03.08.2014 / 11:18 AM

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

Avalanche look to make up ground against St. Louis

DENVER -- The Colorado Avalanche believe they are better prepared to handle the St. Louis Blues on Saturday at Pepsi Center than they were in two earlier meetings, both losses in November.

"In my opinion, we're a different team than the last two times we played them," Avalanche coach Patrick Roy said. "We're playing better defensively and we made some adjustments in our system. I think it's good timing for us to see where we are against these guys. They made a couple trades, they have a new goalie [in Ryan Miller]. I think it's going to be interesting to see what we can do better. We'll see where we are."

Colorado (41-17-5) sits third in the jam-packed Central Division, three points behind first-place St. Louis (42-14-6) and one point behind the second-place Chicago Blackhawks (37-13-14).

"This is a big one," Avalanche center Matt Duchene said. "We've had this one marked on our calendar for a while."

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Posted On Sunday, 03.02.2014 / 3:08 PM

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

Avalanche's Johnson back from suspension

DENVER -- Defenseman Erik Johnson returns to the Colorado Avalanche lineup Sunday against the Tampa Bay Lightning at Pepsi Center after completing a two-game suspension for slashing New York Islanders forward Frans Nielsen in a Feb. 8 game.

"I'm excited," Johnson said. "It was tough going into the Olympic break knowing the first two games coming back I'd have to sit out. It wasn't the best news to hear. Any time you're not playing, it's hard. We're hockey players and we belong on the ice, so it was tough news to get. I had never been suspended before. I wanted to be out there playing, especially because it was a longer break with the Olympics."

The Avalanche went 1-1-0 without Johnson, who has seven goals, 17 assists and a plus-5 rating in 58 games while averaging a team-high 22:48 in ice time.

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Posted On Friday, 02.28.2014 / 3:39 PM

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

Roy wants to see Avalanche's Varlamov rebound

DENVER -- Semyon Varlamov will start in goal Friday when the Colorado Avalanche face the Phoenix Coyotes at Pepsi Center, his first appearance since playing three games for Russia at the 2014 Sochi Olympics.

Varlamov last played in an NHL game Feb. 6 when he stopped 32 shots in a 3-1 road loss to thePhiladelphia Flyers. He lost his last two decisions before the Olympic break but has set a career high for wins in a season with 28 and has been the Avalanche's most valuable player.

Avalanche coach Patrick Roy said he expects Varlamov to return to form after failing to win an Olympic medal for the host country.

"[Varlamov] is a great person and he wants to do well," Roy said. "I have no doubt in my mind that he's not happy about the way that he played and he's going to look at himself in the mirror. I think that's what makes a career. It's not always perfect. That's the way it was for me, anyway, and I think it's going to make him a better hockey player. It's going to help him approach how he's going to play until the end of the year and the playoffs. It's always how you bounce back."

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Posted On Wednesday, 02.26.2014 / 4:02 PM

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

Kings' Jones, Avalanche's Giguere likely to match up

DENVER -- The Colorado Avalanche are looking to pick up where they left off before the Olympic break when they play the Los Angeles Kings on Wednesday at Pepsi Center, while the Kings are hoping to get back on the winning track.

The Avalanche (37-16-5) are 11-4-1 in their past 16 games and sit third in the Central Division, five points behind the first-place St. Louis Blues and second-place Chicago Blackhawks.

The Kings (31-22-6) are on a 2-8-1 slide and third in the Pacific Division, four points ahead of the ninth-place Phoenix Coyotes in the Western Conference.

Each team is expected to start its backup goalie, Jean-Sebastien Giguere for the Avalanche and Martin Jones for the Kings. Colorado's Semyon Varlamov played for Russia at the 2014 Sochi Olympics and Los Angeles' Jonathan Quick was in net for the United States.

"I feel everyone is feeling really good and recharged and ready to go," Avalanche coach Patrick Roy said. "I was pleased with the intensity that we had in our practices. It's going to be a challenge, but I think we have quality people here and I'm very confident that we'll do well."

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Posted On Saturday, 02.01.2014 / 11:51 AM

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

Goaltenders Varlamov, Miller face off in Colorado

DENVER -- Semyon Varlamov, fresh off signing a five-year, $29.5 million contract extension, will start in goal Saturday when the Colorado Avalanche face the Buffalo Sabres at Pepsi Center. Varlamov went 10-1-1 in January, a franchise record for the month.

Center Paul Stastny and right wing Alex Tanguay will be game-time decisions. Stastny sustained an ankle injury in a collision with several players in the third period Thursday in the Avalanche's 5-4 win against the Minnesota Wild. Tanguay tweaked his knee in the third period.

Ryan Miller is expected to start in goal for the Sabres. Miller made 38 saves Thursday when the Sabres defeated the Phoenix Coyotes 3-2 and has gone 8-3-3 in his past 14 decisions. Defenseman Christian Ehrhoff missed that game with an illness but could be back in the lineup Saturday.

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Posted On Thursday, 01.30.2014 / 3:53 PM

By Rick Sadowski  - Correspondent / - 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  - Correspondent / - 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  - Correspondent / - 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  - Correspondent / - 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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Quote of the Day

It is really special. I had a lot of friends and family here tonight, and for my first [NHL] game in here it was great. I played here as an elementary-school player in the city championships and this was my first time back. It was a lot of fun.

— Toronto native Brandon Pirri after scoring 2 goals for Panthers in win at Maple Leafs on Thursday
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