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Avs Refocus with Sunday Skate

Colorado split its back-to-back against Vegas and Anaheim

by Ron Knabenbauer @RonKnab /

CENTENNIAL, Colo.--After completing its second back-to-back set of the season, the Colorado Avalanche hit the practice ice at Family Sports Center on Sunday afternoon.

It was a full-team practice, with a few exceptions on the Avs' roster as forward J.T. Compher and goaltender Philipp Grubauer were given maintenance days and didn't skate in the 45-minute session.

Colorado's next game isn't until Wednesday, so the squad has the extra time for Compher and Grubauer to get a little more rest in before facing the Florida Panthers. Both are expected to be ready for the matchup.

Compher had started the past two games on the team's top line with Nathan MacKinnon and Gabriel Landeskog, but Vladislav Kamenev took that spot during Sunday's practice with Compher not skating. Kamenev has yet to play in a game this season.

Mikko Rantanen was the other Avalanche player that didn't skate, but that was expected after he missed his first games of the season over the weekend against the Vegas Golden Knights and Anaheim Ducks. Head coach Jared Bednar has said Rantanen will be reevaluated later this week after the forward suffered a lower-body injury in Monday's contest at the St. Louis Blues.

The Avs are coming off their second of 12 back-to-backs they'll skate in this season, and they played two different types of games in the consecutive-night set. Colorado won 6-1 at the Golden Knights on Friday and fell 5-2 to the Ducks at home on Saturday in an outing that Bednar said his team "didn't start the game on time."

"Our goal [against Anaheim] and what we talked about was trying to repeat that performance (from the Vegas game) because it was an excellent performance from start to finish," Bednar said following the loss to the Ducks. "I think their goalie was really good at times tonight. I thought we pushed back, but it was a little too little too late."

Despite the loss--its first at home this season--the Avalanche is still one of the top teams in the Western Conference through 11 games with an 8-2-1 record. Prior to Saturday, Colorado had won 10 straight regular-season games at Pepsi Center dating back to last season, the franchise's longest winning streak on home ice spanning multiple years.

With three days between games, the Avalanche can be creative with its schedule this week. The club will have Monday off before resuming practice activities on Tuesday.

Wednesday's outing against the Panthers is the middle of a three-game homestand that concludes with a Division Rivalry matchup on Friday versus the Dallas Stars--which is also the first outing of the Avalanche's third back-to-back of the year.


Gabriel Landeskog - Nathan MacKinnon - Vladislav Kamenev
Andre Burakovsky - Nazem Kadri - Joonas Donskoi
Colin Wilson - Tyson Jost - Valeri Nichushkin
Matt Nieto - Pierre-Edouard Bellemare - Matt Calvert

Samuel Girard - Erik Johnson
Ian Cole - Cale Makar
Nikita Zadorov - Ryan Graves
Mark Barberio

Pavel Francouz

Did Not Practice: J.T. Compher (maintenance), Philipp Grubauer (maintenance), Mikko Rantanen (lower body)

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