DENVER -- The Colorado Avalanche is shaking up its lines to try and shake an early funk – and a much longer skid against the Vancouver Canucks.
Coming off consecutive losses, winless in three road games, still missing captain Gabriel Landeskog to injury, and facing a team they haven't beaten in regulation in 17 tries, Colorado moved third-line center John Mitchell into the top-six as a left wing and inserted call-up Michael Sgarbossa to make his NHL debut in Mitchell's usual spot.
"Just shake it up a little bit and see what happens," coach Joe Sacco said. "With Gabe being out just thought I'd change it up a little bit."
Sacco didn't have an update on his captain and usual top-line left wing Landeskog, who returned from a big, high hit in San Jose on Saturday and finished the game, but did not dress in Edmonton on Monday night. He is still with the team and watched part of the Canucks morning skate Wednesday from the tunnel outside the Avalanche locker room, but did not take part in Colorado's skate an hour later.
"Same status," Sacco said of Landeskog. "Head/leg injury and no timetable as far as returning."
Without Landeskog, Sacco hopes Mitchell will add "a little more jam" to Stastny's line, something he noticed from the trio after making the switch in the third period of a 4-1 loss to the Oilers. The hope is that leads to more power play opportunities for the Avalanche, which is averaging three chances per game and giving up a little more than six.
"It's fair to say we need to do a better job of playing inside the dots, getting to the net more, making the opposition tug us down," said Sacco, who liked the way his team is playing five-on-five but has seen them give up seven power play goals the last two games.
"Our Achilles heel has been our penalty kill," Sacco said. "Even when we do a pretty good job of killing a penalty it seems to end up in the back of our net. No excuses, we have to be better in that area."
Here are the rest of the new Colorado lines as the Avalanche tries to end a 0-15-2 skid against the Canucks on Wednesday night:
Jamie McGinn – Matt Duchene – PA Parenteau
John Mitchell – Paul Stastny – David Jones
Chuck Kobasew – Michael Sgarbosa – Milan Hejduk
Cody McLeod – Mark Olver – Patrick Bordeleau
Erik Johnson - Ryan Wilson
Greg Zanon - Matt Hunwick
Ryan O'Byrne - Jan Hejda or Tyson Barrie
Scratched: Shane O'Brien and Tyson Barrie or Jan Hejda
Injured: Gabriel Landeskog, Steve Downie
Notes: Sacco said O'Brien, a former Canuck, would sit out for the fifth time in six games for sure, but as "still deciding" between Barrie or Hejda as his sixth defenseman.