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Notes from the Rink

by Aaron Lopez / Colorado Avalanche
Colorado travels to Columbus, Ohio, to face the Blue Jackets on Wednesday evening. The teams have met once already this year, with the result being a 5-1 Avalanche victory on Oct. 13 at Pepsi Center. In that contest, Joe Sakic recorded his 15th career hat trick while Milan Hejduk notched two goals and one assist.

Columbus (12-10-5) currently sits in fourth place in the Central Division with 29 points, the same point total as the Avalanche.

“They play hard and they’re playing responsible,” said Avalanche Head Coach Joel Quenneville. “They’re playing a really team-oriented game where there’s a purpose defensively. They’re stingy in their own end and offensively they have enough weapons to produce some goals.”

According to forward Wojtek Wolski, the Avs obviously weren’t satisfied with the outcome of Friday’s 3-2 loss to San Jose, but they were fairly pleased about the way the team performed overall.

“We just need to make sure we’re doing all the right things down low in our zone and putting in the effort,” said Wolski. “I think with a team like ours, we’ve got a lot of depth, and if we’re putting the effort in and playing for each other we’re going to win.”

After their trip to Columbus, the Avs return home to face the Philadelphia Flyers on Friday and the St. Louis Blues on Sunday.

Injury Update
Sakic (groin) did not practice today and will not play in Wednesday’s game. The Avalanche captain will be reevaluated later this week.

Andrew Brunette, recovering from the flu, did not skate this morning but is joining the team on the plane to Columbus. Brunette first became ill prior to Saturday’s game against Los Angeles.

“He was so sick that if there were any healthy bodies, we wouldn’t have played him,” said Quenneville. “I think he took about five 15-second shifts in the first period and did whatever he could. Obviously he felt a little better last night and we expect him to progress going into tomorrow’s game.”

In other news, both Marek Svatos (groin) and Ian Laperriere (knee) could possibly return to Colorado’s lineup on Wednesday. Quenneville also stated that defenseman Jordan Leopold has been progressing well and has been cleared for contact.

Budaj to Start
Peter Budaj will get the starting nod in goal for Wednesday’s contest. In 16 games this season, the netminder has posted a 9-5-0 record with a 2.81 goals against average.

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