The Colorado Avalanche is one of the hottest teams in the NHL when playing at home. Lately, the club has been starting to heat up on the road as well.
That spells bad news for the rest of the league.
With a 9-1 mark at Pepsi Center, the Avs have the best home record in the Western Conference and set a new franchise mark for the most wins after 10 home contests. Colorado’s 4-2 home victory against Minnesota on Sunday (Nov. 11) also equaled the best home record after 10 games in franchise history by either points or point percentage. The 1995-96 squad went 8-0-2 (.900) in their first 10 at home.
After dropping the first four road contests of the season, the Avalanche has posted a 2-0-1 mark in its last three games away from Pepsi Center. The team will now begin a four-game road trip on Friday in Dallas, followed by a Sunday tilt against Minnesota. The club then heads north of the border for match-ups against Calgary (Tuesday, Nov. 20) and Edmonton (Thursday, Nov. 22).
The Avs should be well rested for the trip. After a stretch of four games in seven days, the team enjoyed a long hiatus, with four full days between contests.
“We had a busy schedule going into it, so obviously you come out of it excited to be playing again. It’s a little exciting going on the road too,” said Avalanche head coach Joel Quenneville, who added that the extended break has its benefits. “We can still revisit a lot of areas in our team game that need work and you can use the rest to your advantage.
“You’ve got some momentum in place and you want to sustain it. We’re going into a dangerous situation in Dallas and you try to maintain what you have. In our league now, momentum is important. You see teams go on little streaks and you always want to be on the right side of that streak.”
Defensive Support on the Way? Quenneville stated that Karlis Skrastins – out with a separated shoulder suffered on Oct. 19 against Chicago – could return at some point during the road swing. The head coach said that Friday would be too early for the defenseman’s return, but there’s a chance Skrastins could suit up on Sunday against Minnesota.
In addition, center Tyler Arnason skated with the team on Thursday after missing Wednesday’s practice with the flu.
Between the Pipes Quenneville said following Thursday’s practice that Jose Theodore will get the starting nod for Friday’s game against the Stars, continuing the goalie rotation that has been in place since mid-October. Theodore and Peter Budaj have shared the net over the past nine contests with great success.
In four starts, Theodore has posted a 3-0-1 record with a .942 save percentage, while Budaj has recorded a 4-1-0 mark with a .908 save percentage during Colorado’s 7-1-1 run.