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Avs Turn Attention to Ending Slide on the Road

by Ron Knabenbauer / Colorado Avalanche

Streaks, both good and bad, will happen during the course of an 82-game season. There isn't anyway around them as no team in NHL history has ever had a perfect record to end a campaign.

So while the Colorado Avalanche's recent slide was stretched to four games after a 3-1 loss to the Vancouver Canucks on Tuesday night at Pepsi Center, there doesn't seem to be panic in the Avs' dressing room. Instead, there's a mindset of returning to the basics and righting the ship out of this run.

"Obviously, the last four games haven't ended the way we wanted," said Avalanche captain Gabriel Landeskog. "We haven't found ways to win. We have to put an end to this. You can't afford to go on slides like this at this point of the year. We just have to find a way to get out of it."

Colorado isn't the only team in the league that that has or is going through such a streak. Several of the squads the Avs are fighting for a playoff spot with are also going through such stretches, including division opponents Minnesota and Nashville.

Head coach Patrick Roy pointed out that losing streaks are a regular occurrence after the loss to the Canucks.

"I'm looking around the league, and everybody goes through some times a tough time," Roy said. "You just hope now that we have a good game on the road at Ottawa. That is our next challenge. It's not a period time where you can feel sorry for yourself; it's the opposite. You got to find a solution. You got to find ways to bounce back and play better hockey."

The Avalanche plays five of its next six contests on the road, including the ensuing three in Canada's capital city, Detroit and Buffalo.

Going on the road might be a blessing in disguise for Colorado, as traveling can sometimes bring a team closer together while limiting the distraction of playing in front of family, friends and the home fans.

"I think it is good timing. Now we're going to refocus," Roy said. "We've been playing well on the road. Seems like on the road we're scoring more, and we take leads and play with more confidence. Like tonight, we had the lead, no excuse."

Colorado opened the scoring for the second straight game after Francois Beauchemin tallied his seventh goal of the season 2:26 into the first period, but that was the only time the Avs celebrated versus Vancouver.

The Canucks scored the next three, including the game-winner that was challenged by Roy for goalie interference but was upheld after review.

"We just got to simplify things right now," Beauchemin said. "We're trying to be too cute offensively instead of keeping things simple; throwing things to the net and get the rebounds and get the goals off the shin pads and things like that. We had a lot of chances tonight, but we couldn't bury them. A couple 5-on-3s, those are turning points in the game that ended up costing us in the end."

Roy's preliminary goalie rotation for the upcoming trip begins with Semyon Varlamov pegged as the starter against the Senators on Thursday. The Avs coach is leaning toward Calvin Pickard in net on Friday in Detroit—a place where he made 34 saves in a shootout victory last season.

Playing away from Colorado has been one of the areas that the Avalanche has excelled at this year, going 15-12-0 through the first four months of the season.

The Avs haven't forgotten that previous success and that they are still in a postseason position with 26 games left.

"As of today, we're still in the playoff picture and in a playoff spot," Landeskog said. "We're just going to take care of business and make sure we end the streak as soon as we can."


Defenseman Nick Holden was back on the ice at Pepsi Center, three days after taking a stick to the face on Saturday in a game against the Winnipeg Jets.

The injury occurred after the Jets' Drew Stafford swung his stick at Holden while the two were fighting for a loose puck in the second period. The Winnipeg forward was given a four-minute double-minor penalty and was later assessed a one-game suspension by the NHL Department of Player Safety.

Holden was donning a full, clear cage on his helmet to protect the stitches across his nose and the two black eyes he sported. He played his usual shifts on the second defensive pairing with Tyson Barrie, finishing with 21:34 of ice time.


Jack Skille missed his second straight contest with a concussion, which he suffered after being elbowed in the head last Thursday against Dallas.

"Nothing new for him," Roy reported on the forward after morning skate. "Still a concussion and we'll see how it goes."

Skille, who was signed in October after joining the Avalanche at training camp on a professional tryout, had recorded seven goals and five assists after appearing in each of the first 54 games of the season. He was placed on injured reserve on Tuesday.


•The Canucks won the first meeting of the season between these two teams…Vancouver was one of only two opponents who had yet to face the Avalanche in 2015-16 (Detroit is the other).

Cody McLeod appeared in his 605th career game, tying Steven Finn for eighth place on the franchise’s all-time games played list.

•With his assist tonight, Jarome Iginla now has 81 points (32g/49a) in 95 career games against the Canucks, the most points and goals of any active player against Vancouver.

Alex Tanguay, who also had an assist tonight, has the second-most points of any active player against the Canucks with 63 (22g/41a) in 69 games.

Francois Beauchemin scored his seventh goal of the season, tying Erik Johnson for second among Avalanche defensemen behind only Tyson Barrie (8).

•The Avalanche won a season-high 66% of their faceoffs tonight (35-18).

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