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Avs Get Back To Work Following Western Canada Trip

Team balancing practice and rest during a four-day break

by Ron Knabenbauer @RonKnab / ColoradoAvalanche.com

CENTENTIAL, Colo.--The Colorado Avalanche is in its second four-day break in a 10-day span, allowing the club to refocus on some details and get rested for what will be a busy November. The team will play another 12 contests this month, with the Nashville Predators coming up next on Wednesday at Pepsi Center.

Colorado had a nearly hour-long practice on Sunday morning at Family Sports Center, a day following the club's return trip from Vancouver, British Columbia. The Avs usually travel the night following a game, but the team decided to stay overnight on the Canadian West Coast so the players could get a good night's sleep before returning home the next day.

The Avalanche is balancing work and rest this week, as the team won't have practice on Monday before getting back on the ice on Tuesday. The team hosts the Predators on Wednesday at Pepsi Center in the clubs' first meeting since their first-round series last April in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Injured forward Tyson Jost participated in Sunday's practice session wearing a red, non-contact jersey after missing the last three games with a head injury. He took part in nearly every drill and alternated in during even-strength work.

Sven Andrighetto (lower body) and J.T. Compher (head) did not practice.

During the 5-on-5 drills, the Avalanche's top two lines remained the same as they were in Friday's game at the Vancouver Canucks, with Gabriel Landeskog, Nathan MacKinnon and Mikko Rantanen making up the first unit and Sheldon Dries, Alexander Kerfoot and Colin Wilson comprising the second.

The squad's second line came about after head coach Jared Bednar experimented with the combo in Thursday's game at the Calgary Flames.

"We shortened our bench in Calgary a little bit. There were a handful shifts that Dries played with Kerfoot and Wilson, and they were good," Bednar said. "They were creating opportunities. They were on pucks. I liked the chemistry, so I went back with it in Van, liked them again. I thought they were a really good line in Vancouver."

The Avalanche's bottom-six at Sunday's practice included Gabriel Bourque, Marko Dano and Vladislav Kamenev, and Matt Calvert, Matt Nieto and Carl Soderberg.

The defensive pairings were the same as they were during the contest at the Canucks.

Video: Avs coach Jared Bednar after practice

Practice Line Combinations

Forwards
Gabriel Landeskog - Nathan MacKinnon - Mikko Rantanen
Sheldon Dries - Alexander Kerfoot - Colin Wilson
Matt Nieto - Carl Soderberg - Matt Calvert
Gabriel Bourque - Vladislav Kamenev - Marko Dano
Tyson Jost*

Defensemen

Patrik Nemeth - Erik Johnson
Samuel Girard - Ian Cole 
Nikita Zadorov - Tyson Barrie
Mark Barberio

Goaltenders
Semyon Varlamov
Philipp Grubauer

*Practiced in red, non-contact jersey

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