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Colorado Gears Up For Three-Game Trip

The Avs are in a stretch that has them playing 13-of-16 on the road

by Callie Parmele / ColoradoAvalanche.com

CENNTENIAL, Colo.--The Colorado Avalanche held an optional practice at Family Sports Center on Wednesday morning before hitting the road for a three-game road trip.

The stint away from Pepsi Center starts at the St. Louis Blues on Thursday and concludes with a back-to-back set at the Carolina Hurricanes and the Buffalo Sabres on Saturday and Sunday, respectively.

"St. Louis has been a tough place to go in and play. We haven't had a lot of success there," head coach Jared Bednar said after Wednesday's on-ice session. "I thought we played really well there last game, except for the first period. We got to do what we did last game in there for the final 40 minutes. We got to get after them, get on our toes and put their D under some pressure and make sure we are skating. When that game is done, we move on to the next one."

The Avs visited the Blues on Jan. 25 and fell 3-1 after allowing 17 shots in the first period. Colorado responded in the second and third periods, outshooting St. Louis 29-17 in the last two frames.

"A good home team and a lot of skill and a lot of power in their lineup," defenseman Anton Lindholm said of the Blues. "We know they are really good. They are going to come out hard, as they always do. For us, I think it's being aware of the same things as last night. Being able to defend and doing it with confidence."

Before heading to the airport for the team flight, Bednar noted that goaltender Jonathan Bernier will start between the pipes for Colorado in St. Louis and that Semyon Varlamov will be in the crease on Saturday in Carolina. Bernier was in net when the Avs played at St. Louis nearly two weeks ago and made 31 saves in the contest. 

"They just spread that confidence and calm around them," Lindholm said of both Colorado netminders. "Doesn't matter who is in between the pipes each night, we just know that we can depend on both of them."

While it is known who will be in net, Bednar is unsure of the forward combinations as right wing Mikko Rantanen will once again be a game-time decision. He missed his first contest of the season on Tuesday with a lower-body injury and did not participate in Wednesday's session.

"He will skate tomorrow morning and then we will evaluate him for game time," Bednar said of Rantanen.

The puck is scheduled to drop at 6 p.m. MT and the contest will be televised on Altitude. The radio broadcast can be heard on Altitude Sports Radio AM 950 or online at ColoradoAvalanche.com.

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