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Morning Skate Report: April 8

by Ron Knabenbauer / Colorado Avalanche

As the Colorado Avalanche prepares to play the Calgary Flames for the final time this season, the team will be looking for some redemption for how they played two days prior in Phoenix.

The Avalanche lost 4-0 to the Coyotes on Saturday and defenseman Erik Johnson said that result didn’t sit well with anyone on the team.

“Everyone hates the situation right now,” Johnson said. “It’s no fun, no one likes it. You have to play for pride, play for this uniform. It doesn’t matter what situation your in, you have to keep proving yourself everyday.

“We have a lot left to play for.”

Colorado will get one of their power forwards back for tonight’s game, as David Jones will return to the lineup after missing the last eight games with a knee injury.

Through 27 games this season, the 6-foot-2, 210-pound right wing hasn’t put up the offensive numbers that he has been accustomed to, but he and his coach will look for him to break through on the scoresheet in the final three weeks.

“I think it is an important 10 games for him right now,” said Colorado head coach Joe Sacco of Jones. “He’s got to get back on track. He’s got to play hard. He’s got to compete, and he’s got to make sure that he lays it all out there for us – for himself and for his teammates.”

Sacco said that Jones will play on a line with center John Mitchell and left wing Cody McLeod, which should make for a big, physical forward line. Aaron Palushaj will be a healthy scratch this evening to make room for Jones in the lineup.

Avalanche Spotlight On: Patrick Bordeleau

Patrick Bordeleau

Big-body Patrick Bordeleau has made his physical presence felt this season as he leads the Avalanche in hits with 91 and is second on the club in penalty minutes (62) and major penalties (6).

He has recorded eight hits in three different games this season, including last Saturday in Phoenix. He is the first Avalanche player to ever have three games with at least eight hits in a single season (since 2005-06).

The 6-foot-6, 225-pound forward has appeared in 36 of Colorado’s 38 games this year, and while he has only two points, he has been a good puck carrier and has made smart plays both offensively and defensively.

“He is a big presence out there,” Johnson said of Bordeleau. “You definitely feel a little more comfortable when he is out on the ice. But not only can he do that, but he can also play. I have played with a lot of tough guys in my six-year career and he is probably the most skilled, by far.”

More Morning Notes

- Paul Stastny is close to coming back from a foot injury as he fully practiced with the team this morning and ran addition drills with the assistant coaches after the main session. Sacco said Stastny might be available for Tuesday’s game at Anaheim, depending on how he feels after tomorrow’s practice.

- Milan Hejduk also participated fully with the team this morning, but his return from a shoulder injury is still unknown. Sacco said he is making progress, but there is still no timetable on when he might be game ready.

- Tonight’s game will be the fourth and final meeting of the regular season between Colorado and Calgary. The Avalanche leads the season series, 2-1-0, with wins on Jan. 31 in Calgary and Feb. 28 in Denver.

- It will also be the final game between the teams as Northwest Division foes as the two clubs will be in different divisions next season due to realignment.

- Right wing PA Parenteau has seven points (two goals and five assists) in three games against the Flames this season.

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