A three-game road trip continues Thursday for the Colorado Avalanche, which takes on the Ottawa Senators for the first time this season. It's the first of two games in the 2016-17 season series, both of which will be played in a 10-day span, as the Senators visit Pepsi Center on March 11. Ottawa is one of just two teams in the NHL that Colorado has not played yet this year.
The Avalanche is 15-10-2 all-time against the Senators and has won nine of the last 11 meetings in the series. On the road, the Avs are 7-6-1 with wins in five of the last six matchups.
Last Time Out
The Avalanche is coming off a 4-0 loss to the Philadelphia Flyers on Tuesday night. Despite outshooting the Flyers 33-26, including by a 10-5 margin in the third period, Colorado was unable to put the puck past goaltender Steve Mason. Meanwhile, the Avs allowed two power-play goals on three of Philly's man-advantage opportunities.
The Senators last played on Monday, falling to the Tampa Bay Lightning 5-1 in Tampa. Kyle Turris opened the scoring with a power-play tally just over six minutes into the game, but the Lightning scored five unanswered to take the win. Ottawa peppered Andrei Vasilevskiy with 40 shots and capitalized on one of five man-advantage opportunities.
Last Time They Met
Colorado and Ottawa last met on Feb. 11, 2016 at Canadian Tire Centre, where the Avalanche earned a 4-3 win. Tyson Barrie, Jarome Iginla, Blake Comeau and Carl Soderberg each had multipoint games for the Avs, who finished 3-for-4 on the power play.
What to Watch
Avs After the Trade Deadline
Now that the stress and uncertainty that comes with the trade deadline has come and gone, the Avalanche can enter Thursday's game with the sole focus on their opponent, free of any additional distractions.
"It was a little bit of a crazy day. Everybody was walking around on pins and needles, kind of wondering what was going on. So, there is some uncertainty there. There is some anxiety there, I'm sure. We wanted to make sure that we had a good day of practice and try to get better here today," said head coach Jared Bednar following Wednesday's on-ice session in Ottawa. "I thought the guys were in good spirits going out on the ice. I think the guys are happy that Iggy has a chance to go and hopefully take a run at a Cup. That is a couple positives for us, and now our focus is on making sure we're doing the right things coming into tomorrow night."
Ottawa Playing for Positioning
The Senators enter Thursday night's contest sitting in a tie for second place in the Atlantic Division and just six points behind the Montreal Canadiens, who occupy the division's top spot. They'll look not only to gain ground on the division leader, but to also get some separation from the Bruins, with whom they're tied in the standings.
NHL Debut and New Faces
J.T. Compher, who was recalled from the San Antonio Rampage on Wednesday, is slated to make his NHL debut in Thursday night's contest. In his first professional season, the Northbrook, IL, native ranks third on the Rampage with 30 points (13 goals, 17 assists) in 41 games.
The Senators, who were very active leading up to Wednesday's trade deadline, will also likely have some new names in the lineup. Forwards Alexandre Burrows and Viktor Stalberg each participated in their first practice with Ottawa on Wednesday and should take the ice in Thursday's contest.
Player to Watch
Colorado: Goaltender Calvin Pickard
Calvin Pickard is slated to start in net for the first time in two contests. It will be his second career game against the Senators but his first start. Pickard made his NHL debut at Ottawa on Oct. 16, 2014 and made 23 saves in a relief effort, entering the game for an injured Reto Berra less than four minutes in.
Ottawa: Defenseman Erik Karlsson
Karlsson enters Thursday's matchup on a two-game point streak and has registered 11 points (two goals, nine assists) in his last nine outings. He has tallied at least a point in each of his eight career contests against the Avalanche, including two assists in the last meeting.
Thursday's game in Ottawa begins at 5:30 p.m. MT and can be watched live on Altitude TV. The radio broadcast can be heard on Altitude Sports Radio AM950 or online at ColoradoAvalanche.com.