The Colorado Avalanche is hoping that its second back-to-back set of the season is a blessing as it looks to quickly bounce back from Friday afternoon's loss.
The team fell 7-0 at the Vegas Golden Knights on Friday and hosts the Chicago Blackhawks tonight.
"We got to be able to bounce back today," said forward Sven Andrighetto. "That the good thing about hockey, we get the chance one day later to bounce back from that performance from last night."
The Avalanche outshot the Golden Knights in the first half of the game, but then momentum began to swing in Vegas' favor. The Knights scored all of their goals in the final 33 minutes of the contest.
The best and quickest way the Avalanche will be able to forget about Friday's loss is to earn a win on Saturday.
"I think we just have to compete harder," Alexander Kerfoot said of what the Avalanche needs to do in Saturday's outing. "We know that when we are playing our best we are working hard and we're pounding pucks and competing all night, and that is what we got to do tonight if we are going to bounce back."
Video: Sven Andrighetto on rebounding vs. Chicago
To put salt in the wound of the loss, Colorado was also saddled with another injury in the contest.
Left wing Gabriel Bourque left the contest with an upper-body injury during the first period. The game marked the forward's second outing with the Avalanche this season.
He was called up from the American Hockey League's San Antonio Rampage last weekend after J.T. Compher (broken thumb) and Tyson Jost (lower body) were placed on injured reserve. Bourque and Colin Wilson (hip) were added to the list of Avs players on injured reserved this morning. Ahead of tonight's matchup, the Avalanche recalled forwards Andrew Agozzino and Rocco Grimaldi from San Antonio.
Agozzino and Grimaldi are also in a back-to-back situation as they both played last night in the Rampage's 3-1 victory over the San Jose Barracuda. Grimaldi found the back of the net with an assist from Agozzino in the first frame and registered a helper of his own at the end of the second period.
The forwards did not make it to the Colorado in time for Saturday's optional morning skate.
"Grimaldi is going to play for sure and it looks like Agozzino probably will not," said head coach Jared Bednar.
Lady luck wasn't completely against Colorado in Vegas as the Avalanche did avoid what could have been a serious injury to Kerfoot.
The young centerman received a hard hit to the head and immediately left the game at the 10:06 mark of the third period.
"I think that anytime you get hit to the head like that you are kind of a little bit stunned, so I just wanted to get back into the locker room and kind of take things slow," he said on Saturday. "I went through the concussion protocol and passed everything and started to feel better as the night went along. Then when I woke up this morning I felt really good too, so it was just being precautionary with everything, but I feel good now."
Video: Alexander Kerfoot on returning to game action
The rookie forward also added that it will be good for the team to get back on the ice after Friday's loss.
"I think it is nice to have a back-to-back and be able to bounce back from that one," Kerfoot said. "Obviously, we didn't play the way we wanted to last night. We got a really good hockey team tonight in Chicago, and it would be a big bounce back win for us."
Coach Bednar confirmed Kerfoot will play on Saturday, and he emphasized the importance of the compete level amongst his team.
"We got to come out and make sure we are real competitive," he said on Saturday morning. "I think we got to continue to do the right things, or play the right way. We did that in the first period yesterday, and we got away from it. [We are] looking for an effort similar to what we had against Dallas the other night. We came out, we were the aggressors and were skating hard, playing the right way."
PLAYING AT HOME
Colorado is 3-1-0 on home ice so far in this young campaign and is looking to continue its success in the Mile High City.
"I think the fans have been great at home," Kerfood said on Saturday morning. "Good atmosphere, everyone loves playing at the Pepsi Center so hopefully we can get a win against Chicago because they are a really good team."
Playing in its home building is something that Andrighetto said he believes will invigorate the Avalanche.
"Home ice advantage is always an advantage," the Swiss forward said. "After the performance that we had last night, bouncing back, I think every single guy in this room is really motivated to do so."
Avalanche head coach Jared Bednar said that netminder Jonathan Bernier will be between the pipes for the Avalanche on Saturday, but he is not sure what the defensive pairings will lok like.
"We are talking a couple of different things through [for] tonight," said Bednar. "It looks like the scratches are going to be [Nikita] Zadorov and [Chris] Bigras in the backend."
If that is the case, defenseman Andrei Mironov will be in the Avalanche lineup for only the second time this season. He was paired with Bigras on opening night against the New York Rangers on Oct. 5 and finished the game with two penalty minutes.