Following a successful road trip during which the team posted a 4-1-2 record, the Avs returned to Denver for back-to-back games against the Carolina Hurricanes and Detroit Red Wings on Friday and Saturday, respectively.
Craig Anderson’s streak of nine straight starts will come to an end Friday, as Peter Budaj will see his first action of the season for the Avalanche.
“Peter’s going to play tomorrow. I think it’s the right time to get Peter in there and it’s the right time to give Craig a night off,” said Avalanche head coach Joe Sacco
. “Like I said from day one, we’ve been riding Craig but everybody here has faith in Peter. He’s going to play a great game for us tomorrow night.”
This weekend’s games also will mark the second back-to-back set for the Avalanche this season, as the club previously played Boston (Oct. 12) and Toronto (Oct. 13) on consecutive nights.
Hosting games on two straight nights takes away arguably the toughest aspect of playing back-to-backs – the travel in between.
“You get a better night’s sleep obviously, which is great,” said Wojtek Wolski. “You’re more comfortable at home. We’ve been on the road for so long that it’s nice to finally get back here for a couple days. Regardless, back-to-backs are hard.”
Also of note, the Hurricanes have yet to earn a point at Pepsi Center, posting a 0-5-0 mark in five games. The last time the Hurricanes franchise won in Denver was a Feb. 9, 1996 victory at McNichols Arena when the club was known as the Hartford Whalers.
The Hurricanes will be without forwards Erik Cole and Michael Ryan during Friday’s game. Cole is out of the lineup with a broken leg suffered Oct. 3, while Ryan is on injured reserve with an upper-body injury.McLeod UpdateCody McLeod
did not practice on Thursday after taking an inadvertent stick to the eye area during Wednesday night’s game in Minnesota.
“Cody is good. He has good vision, which is good news,” Sacco reported. “He’s being reevaluated today and he’s out indefinitely right now.”
The incident occurred with two minutes remaining in the second period. After a Wild turnover near their own blue line, Wojtek Wolski recovered the puck and made a quick feed over to McLeod, who was hit in the face by Eric Belanger’s stick as he began breaking towards the net. Even after being struck, McLeod stuck with the play and put a shot on goal, the rebound of which was deposited by Kyle Quincey to give the Avs a 2-1 lead at the time.
McLeod didn’t even join in the goal celebration, as he immediately headed to the bench before being escorted to the trainer’s room.Liles Practices, Preissing Continues Skating
Injured defensemen John-Michael Liles (shoulder) and Tom Preissing (knee) skated together before Thursday’s practice. The pair wore orange non-contact jerseys while going through conditioning and shooting drills.
Preissing left the ice once practice started, but Liles stayed on and participated in many of the drills alongside his teammates. There was no immediate word on when the Indianapolis native might return to the lineup.