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Avalanche And Jets Meet For Second Time This Season

Winnipeg won the first outing on Oct. 28

by Danielle Bernstein @danibernstein / ColoradoAvalanche.com

The Avs' four-game homestand continues Friday as Colorado hosts the Winnipeg Jets at 7 p.m. at Pepsi Center. This will be the second of five meetings between the Central Division opponents, three of which will be played in Denver. The Avalanche fell 1-0 to the Jets on Oct. 28.

"We thought we played real well except for a period at the start of the game," said head coach Jared Bednar about the first matchup of the season against the Jets. "We created a lot of chances. We were just unable to solve their goalie. We've addressed some things over the last couple of days. We're getting to the net harder, and the defense is taking care of the front of our net so our goalies have an easier time. Hopefully, we see some improvements in that area."

Last Time Out

Both the Avs and the Jets played the Arizona Coyotes in their previous games, with the Avs falling 4-2 on Tuesday night and the Jets taking a 3-2 win in Glendale on Thursday.

Colorado received goals from Rene Bourque and Nathan MacKinnon to take a 2-1 lead early in the second period but couldn't hold on, falling for the fourth time in five games. Calvin Pickard made 21-of-25 saves, and the Avs outshot the Coyotes 27-25. Friday's game will be the second half of a back-to-back for Winnipeg after Thursday's win over the Coyotes. Andrew Copp, Blake Wheeler and Nikolaj Ehlers were the goal scorers for Winnipeg, and Connor Hellebuyck made 23 stops on 25 shots faced.

Video: Lauren and Marc preview Friday's contest

Stacking Up: Offense and Defense

Matt Duchene and Erik Johnson each tallied their fifth assists of the season in Tuesday's game, bringing them into a tie with Nathan MacKinnon for the team lead in helpers. Duchene still leads the team in goals (6) and points (11) this season.

The Jets bring two of the league's top five scorers in Mark Scheifele, whose 19 points (nine goals, 10 assists) lead all NHL skaters, and rookie phenom Patrik Laine, whose 11 goals put him atop the league in scoring (his 16 points rank sixth).

Defensively, the Jets and the Avs have posted similar numbers this season, averaging 3.00 and 3.08 goals against per game, respectively. Winnipeg defenseman Jacob Trouba will make his first appearance in the season series after ending his RFA holdout and signing a contract with the Jets on Monday.

Stacking Up: Special Teams

Gabriel Landeskog, Joe Colborne and Rene Bourque have each recorded two power-play goals for a three-way tie for the team lead. The Avs' power play at home ranks eighth in the league at 25 percent, and Colorado has logged the most 5-on-3 time of any team in the league (3:39).

Laine's five power-play goals lead the NHL, and Scheifele has added two man-advantage markers for the league's 22nd-ranked power play.

Winnipeg and Colorado have posted similar penalty-kill numbers this season, as the Jets are 40-for-50 (80.0 percent) and the Avs are 38-for-48 (79.2 percent).

Player to Watch

Colorado: Right Wing Rene Bourque

Bourque scored a power-play goal for the Avs in Tuesday's game and now has two goals and an assist on the season. Bourque moved up to Colorado's second line at practice on Thursday, playing with Carl Soderberg and Landeskog.

"I just like what he's been doing. I liked his last game," said Bednar. "He's a physical guy. He's bringing a physical presence to our forward group, which we need a little bit more of, and he's skating hard, he's tracking the puck hard, he's getting to the front of the net. We want to give him a chance to continue to earn some more minutes."

Winnipeg: Defenseman Jacob Trouba

Considered one of the league's top young defensemen, Trouba will make his season debut on Friday night. Trouba recorded six goals, 15 assists and 62 penalty minutes for Winnipeg last season. He also had a plus-10 rating in the 81 games he played.

Lineup Notes

Semyon Varlamov is expected to be back in net for the Avalanche on Friday, making his ninth start of the season. Varlamov was also in net for Colorado's first game against the Jets this season.

The Details

Friday's game will be Veterans Appreciation Night at Pepsi Center, and the team will wear special camo jerseys for warmup. Puck drop is at 7 p.m. and tickets are still available. The game can be seen live on Altitude and heard on Altitude Sports Radio AM 950 and at ColoradoAvalanche.com.

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