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LEAGUE DEBUTS: With Logan O'Connor making his NHL debut on Monday night against the Kings, four players have now made their first NHL appearance for the Avalanche in 2018-19. Defenseman Ryan Graves (Dec. 27 at Vegas), goaltender Pavel Francouz (Dec. 22 at Arizona) and forward Sheldon Dries (Oct. 4 vs. Minnesota) also skated in their first NHL games this season. O'Connor also became the seventh former University of Denver player to play a regular-season game for the Avs, joining Antti Laaksonen (2005-07), Mark Rycroft (2006-07), Paul Stastny (2006-14), Aaron MacKenzie (2008-09), Joe Colborne (2016-17) and Patrick Wiercioch (2016-17).
THIRD PERIOD SCORING: Mikko Rantanen (5-23-28), Gabriel Landeskog (16-7-23) and Nathan MacKinnon (10-13-23) are the top three-ranked players in the league in third-period scoring. Landeskog also leads the NHL in goals in the final frame of regulation with 16.
GOAL LEADERS: Gabriel Landeskog and Nathan MacKinnon are tied for the team lead with 24 goals this season, tied for fourth in the NHL and the second-highest total through 40 games since the team relocated to Denver (Joe Sakic tallied 27 goals through 39 contests in 1995-96).
Wednesday, January 2 vs. San Jose Sharks
Pepsi Center, 7:30 p.m. MT, TV: NBCSN, Radio: 92.5 FM
The Avalanche plays its first game of 2019 on Wednesday, as it hosts the San Jose Sharks at Pepsi Center. It's the first of three meetings between the Avs and Sharks this season and San Jose's only trip to the Mile High City. Colorado is 41-33-12 overall against the Sharks since moving to Denver, including a 24-13-6 mark on home ice.
Friday, January 4 vs. New York Rangers
Pepsi Center, 7 p.m. MT, TV: Altitude, Radio: 92.5 FM
Colorado closes out its four-game homestand against the New York Rangers on Friday night, the second and final matchup between the clubs in 2018-19. The Rangers won the first meeting, 3-2, in a shootout on Oct. 16 at Madison Square Garden. The Avs were 2-0-0 against New York last season.
Player Spotlight: Tyson Barrie
Barrie registered his 208th career assist against the Blackhawks on Saturday, passing John-Michael Liles to become the franchise's all-time leader in assists by a defenseman, reaching the milestone in 82 fewer games (441). He sits one point shy of tying Liles (275) for the most points by a defenseman in franchise history.
"It was awesome. I mean, it was a good feeling to get there in my first, but obviously a bitter feeling having the outcome that we had. I thought we worked hard the whole game and had a good comeback there, but unfortunately we couldn't get the job done at the end, so we just have to build on that."- Avalanche right wing Logan O'Connor on making his NHL debut on Monday night