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Budaj to Start Friday vs. New York

by Aaron Lopez / Colorado Avalanche
After returning home from a West Coast road swing where it earned three out of a possible four points against Los Angeles and Anaheim, the Avalanche skated at South Suburban Family Sports Center on Thursday in preparation for a four-game homestand.

Colorado, which holds a 13-3-0 record at home, will welcome the New York Rangers to Pepsi Center on Friday. The club will then host the Vancouver Canucks, Detroit Red Wings and Los Angeles Kings before wrapping up the 2007 portion of its schedule with a road game against the Phoenix Coyotes.

The Avalanche, which has earned 11 out of a possible 14 points in its last seven contests, will face a Rangers team on Friday that currently holds down the second spot in the Atlantic Division.

“I would imagine there would be some emotion in the building,” said Avalanche head coach Joel Quenneville. “Our games at home have been entertaining and the building has been very supportive.”

Peter Budaj will make his fifth consecutive start on Friday against New York. The netminder has been solid over the last four games, stopping 116-of-122 shots over that span for a .951 save percentage while not allowing more than two goals in any contest.

“He looks quick. He’s anticipating well and his rebound control has been very efficient,” said Quenneville. “He’s following the puck, tracking it very well.”

Injury Update
Avalanche captain Joe Sakic did not skate with the team on Thursday and will not suit up against the Rangers.

“Joe hasn’t skated. He tried it there Saturday and he knew it wasn’t right,” said Quenneville. “That was his test and kind of gave himself a baseline to figure out where he’s at, but he’s not ready to get on the ice yet.”

Ryan Smyth, who missed Wednesday’s game against Anaheim with a stiff neck, will most likely sit out as well.

“We’ll see how he presents, but I’d say he’s very doubtful for tomorrow,” said Quenneville. “He’s getting evaluations today. We’ll find out exactly what his issues are and go from there.”

In addition, Jordan Leopold (leg laceration) is listed as day-to-day, but also won’t be in uniform on Friday.
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