CENTENNIAL, Colo--After returning from a two-game trip, the Colorado Avalanche held an optional practice at Family Sports Center on Wednesday.
The session featured four forwards (Andre Burakovksy, Matt Calvert, Vladislav Kamenev and Nathan MacKinnon), five defensemen (Mark Barberio, Ian Cole, Samuel Girard, Ryan Graves and Cale Makar) and goaltender Pavel Francouz on the ice.
"We had some guys banged up this morning, that's why we didn't do a regular skate--just shortage of guys and being able to have a real sort of structured work practice, plus it was a short turnaround coming in late last night," said head coach Jared Bednar. "We wanted to make sure our guys are rested for tomorrow, get what they need. Some guys wanted to go on the ice, some guys wanted to just do some work and get on the bikes in the gym and get a sweat on and have some meetings, so that's what we did. They all should be good to go for tomorrow."
The Avs now open a two-game homestand, as they play the Nashville Predators in a division rivalry outing on Thursday before hosting the Columbus Blue Jackets on Saturday.
Last year, Colorado and Nashville split the season series with the road team winning all four meetings.
"Certainly, it's a big game. We just dropped two to Dallas, so we can't continue to lose these divisional games, they are extremely important," Cole said of the contest against the Predators. "They are a great hockey team. I am sure they are ahead of us in the standings now so I think hopefully it will be a good situation to maybe energize us a little bit. Say 'Hey, we need to pull it together, this is a really good team we are playing.' Not that the previous teams weren't, but sometimes you need a little bit of a shock to the system to get out of a funk."
The Avalanche has one point in its last five games, but remain in the third spot in the division standings with an 8-5-2 mark and 18 points on the campaign.
The Avalanche reassigned forward Jayson Megna to the American Hockey League's Colorado Eagles. He played in four outings since being called up by the Avs on Oct. 29 and averaged 5:19 of ice time per game.
"He was fine, he didn't get a lot of opportunity," Bednar said of Megna. "We are chasing games. We are trying to double up some of our regular guys that have provided offense for us, especially through the first 10 games, and give them more opportunity. But, we are just looking for a spark."
With Gabriel Landeskog (out indefinitely), Mikko Rantanen (week-to-week) and Colin Wilson (day-to-day) all still out with lower-body injuries, Colorado recalled T.J. Tynan on Wednesday afternoon.