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Defensive Changes Coming Vs. Boston

by Ryan Boulding / Colorado Avalanche

News and notes from Colorado Avalanche practice.

The Avs are playing with some swagger right now, and the one area head coach Patrick Roy has noticed the change is on the man advantage.

“Our guys are more confident, especially the power play,” he said. “I look at the way we’re moving the puck on the power play. We move it with confidence, and our decision making seems to go with it at the same time.”

For Roy and the rest of the team, the best of the first two periods of Thursday’s loss to the Minnesota Wild and the third period in Saturday’s win over the Dallas Stars is what will be needed in order to top a desperate Boston Bruins squad on Wednesday.

“It’s an important game,” Roy said. “It’s our last game. We’re going on the road for our next two [against] Anaheim and L.A. It’ll be important for us to finish off [the homestand] on a great note.”

For former Bruins forward Carl Soderberg, Wednesday night’s match will be the first time he’ll face his old club since his rights were traded to the Avalanche on June 25.

“Out of the rink, I have some friends, but tomorrow’s going to be a battle,” the 30-year-old Swede said about the reunion. “No nervousness, it’s exciting to play against them.

“They’re really good defensively.”

Another player that is more accustomed to facing Boston than the majority of Colorado’s roster is rear guard Nikita Zadorov, who regularly saw the Bruins during his time with the Buffalo Sabres.

“They’re tough to play against,” said the 20-year-old Russian. “It’s going to be hard to play against them in the offensive zone, and I know they’re pretty tough too.”

Zadorov is one of a few members on the Avalanche blue line that will see a different defensive partner on Wednesday night.

[Brad] Stuart will play with [Nick] Holden,” Roy said of his plan for the back end. “They played well together at the end [of last season]. In the third [against Dallas], we put [Tyson] Barrie with Zadorov, and they played really well together. We’ll see how it goes.

“Z has a lot of size, and I think that will help Tyson. Obviously, they both love to go on offense on the rush, but at the same time it will be up to both of them to help each other defensively.”

For Zadorov, a chance to continue playing with Barrie is exciting.

“It’s unreal. I’m so happy to play with him,” Zadorov said. “I think we think the same way. We’re kind of not the same kind of players. He’s more offensive than I am, and I’m a little bigger too. But we think in the same way, and we try to move the puck quick so we can join the rush [and] help our forwards find a scoring chance to score goals.”

Roy added: “I think it’s a good mix. A stronger, physical defenseman with Tyson, who loves to move the puck. I think it’s a good mix. That’s how I see it.”

Mikhail Grigorenko will again be a healthy scratch as the team’s 13th forward. Defensemen Brandon Gormley and Nate Guenin will also be out of the contest as healthy scratches, according Roy.

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