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Avs Staying Loose Ahead Of Saturday's Game

The goal is to repeat Thursday's performance

by Ryan Boulding @rboulding /

SUNRISE, Fla.--Not even 24 hours removed from Thursday's outstanding 4-0 shutout victory at the Tampa Bay Lightning, the Colorado Avalanche was back on the ice at BB&T Center in southern Florida.

No rest for the wicked, right?

With a day between games, the Avs took time to run through a road practice--their first of the season. The focus? Staying fresh and loose and ready to continue to do exactly what they did on Thursday night at Amalie Arena.

"Just trying to keep the energy up, be positive in the locker room, win or lose. That's what the emphasis was today, just get out, get moving," defenseman Patrick Wiercioch said after the skate.

Video: Patrick Wiercioch talks practicing in Florida

On Tuesday, Colorado coach Jared Bednar said he wanted his players to work on their attention to detail in Thursday's match, the minutiae of the game, so they could provide themselves a road map to success.

They certainly did that.

"When you play the way we played--we were doing things right all night last night, regardless of the time and score of the game--that's fun hockey," Bednar said following the ice session. "Playing in Washington the other night when we're chasing the game and we weren't really there and weren't committed the way we need to be committed, that's tough hockey. Playing that is not real fun, and you see the difference last night.

"So I think our guys are starting to see that. When we play hard, and we're prepared and ready to go, then it's fun hockey. And they'll come and continue the momentum."

He called the win the club's best effort to date, and the Avs will be looking to recapture that lightning-in-a-bottle performance again on Saturday against the Florida Panthers in the final contest of this four-game road swing.

Video: Coach Bednar's post-practice press conference

"I think our guys are excited. They're having fun coming to the rink right now," said Bednar. "Winning helps that."

"We've won two games so far, and we've played against pretty good teams," said center Carl Soderberg. "We feel good about ourselves and are ready for the game tomorrow."

According to Bednar, Semyon Varlamov will again get the start in net. The 28-year-old Russian was unflinching in his puck-stopping resolve on Thursday and has performed admirably in each of his three starts to date.

"He's been really sharp. To be honest through exhibition and everything, he's been really good," Bednar said of his netminder. "I think in the Dallas game, we hung him out to dry a little bit with some of the chances that we gave up, but he's been good. He's been really good for us. He's given us a chance to win every night."

Colorado's bench manager also provided an update on Rene Bourque, who was sidelined for Thursday's match with a groin injury.

"He took a maintenance day," said Bednar. "He could be a candidate to play tomorrow."

Bourque was one of a few players that didn't participate in Friday's practice.

"We've got some guys who've obviously played a lot of hockey here, traveling on the road, and we've got some guys with some bumps and bruises. We felt it was best for those guys to take days off today and see where they're at tomorrow."

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