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Avalanche Begins Three-Game Homestand vs. Jets

Colorado and Winnipeg meet in the final matinee of the season at Pepsi Center

by Danielle Bernstein / ColoradoAvalanche.com

The Colorado Avalanche begins a three-game homestand on Saturday afternoon, hosting the Winnipeg Jets at Pepsi Center.

It's the fourth of five matchups this season between the Central Division opponents and the last of three that will be played in the Mile High City, as Colorado travels to Winnipeg for the final meeting on March 4. The Avs are 1-2-0 against the Jets so far this season with the win coming in the last home tilt on Nov. 11

Colorado is 16-13-6 all-time against the Jets franchise and 9-8-3 since the team moved to Winnipeg. The Avalanche is 6-3-1 on home ice in the series during that span.

The Jets enter the game in fifth place in the Central Division and two points out of a wild card spot. Winnipeg is 13-4-1 against the division so far this season.

Last Time Out

The Avalanche dropped a 5-0 decision to the Los Angeles Kings on Wednesday night at Staples Center. Spencer Martin made 35 saves, and the Avs were scoreless on four power-play opportunities.

Mark Scheifele scored twice and Nikolaj Ehlers added a goal and an assist to lift the Jets to a 4-3 win over the Dallas Stars on Wednesday evening. Ondrej Pavelec, who has started six of Winnipeg's last seven games in goal, finished with 39 saves. The victory extended the Jets' winning streak to three games, the first time this season they've strung together more than two wins.

Last Time They Met

The Jets topped the Avalanche 4-1 in Winnipeg on Dec. 18. Nikolaj Ehlers potted two and Patrik Laine added a goal and two helpers to lead Winnipeg. The Jets scored three times on nine shots in the third period. Jarome Iginla scored the lone goal for Colorado, which came on one of its three power-play opportunities of the night.

What to Watch

Daytime Hockey

Saturday's soiree is the fifth of six matinee contests for the Avalanche this season and the last of three that will be played at Pepsi Center. The Avs final daytime tilt will take place on March 18 in Detroit. Colorado is 1-3-0 in afternoon games this season, including a 1-1-0 mark at home.

Winnipeg Offense

The Jets' eighth-ranked offense (2.91 goals per game) features three players ranked in the top 20 of the league in points: Mark Scheifele (sixth: 25-28-53), Nikolaj Ehlers (11th: 19-28-47) and Blake Wheeler (20th: 16-29-45).

Scheifele's 25 goals and rookie sensation Patrik Laine's 23 markers rank fourth and 10th, respectively, in the NHL. Laine is tied with Auston Matthews for the league lead among rookies.

Bryan Little has been on a tear as of late and enters Saturday's contest on a seven-game point streak. His seven goals and 11 points are league highs since Jan. 18.

Player to Watch

Colorado: Defenseman Mark Barberio

Barberio was claimed off waivers by the Avalanche on Thursday and will make his debut with the team Saturday afternoon. The 26-year-old blueliner has split time between the Montreal Canadiens and the St. John's IceCaps this season, recording four assists in 26 games for Montreal and 18 points (three goals, 15 assists) in 20 contests with St. John's.

"He can contribute on the power play. He can be a dangerous guy offensively, moves the puck, skates really well," said head coach Jared Bednar of the club's newest addition following Friday's practice at Family Sports Center. "A little more on the smaller size, but I think he can help us in some areas where we're in need."

Winnipeg: Goaltender Ondrej Pavelec

Pavelec has posted a 4-2-0 record in six starts since being recalled from the AHL's Manitoba Moose on Jan. 17. That includes two straight road victories at St. Louis--the league's fifth-best home team with a 17-8-4 record--and Dallas.

Lineup Notes

Calvin Pickard will get the start in goal for Colorado. Pickard is 1-1-0 in his career against Winnipeg. He was in net for Colorado's 4-1 loss in the last meeting between the two teams, and he earned a shootout win in his first match against the Jets on Dec. 11, 2014.

Rene Bourque and Fedor Tyutin did not participate in Friday's practice and will be out for Saturday's game. Tyson Barrie, who skated for the first portion of Colorado's on-ice session, is probable.

The Details

Saturday's game begins at 1 p.m. and tickets are still available. The Colorado Avalanche pee-wee hockey team, which will compete in the Quebec International Pee-Wee Hockey Tournament taking place Feb. 8-20, will be honored prior to puck drop.

The Avalanche vs. Jets can be watched live on Altitude, or fans can listen in on Altitude Sports Radio AM950 or online at ColoradoAvalanche.com.

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