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Practice Report: Back at Home

by Aaron Lopez / Colorado Avalanche
Going into the Xcel Energy Center and coming away with a two-game split is a pretty decent accomplishment when considering the Minnesota Wild’s success at home during the regular season. The Wild held a 25-11-5 record at home this year, and came away victorious in all four meetings with the Colorado Avalanche in St. Paul.

While it goes without saying that the Avalanche would be more comfortable returning to Denver with a 2-0 advantage in the series, Avalanche head coach Joel Quenneville seemed pretty pleased with how the first two games of the series played out.

“The games have been very competitive. We thought the series and games would be very close,” said Quenneville. “It couldn’t have gotten much closer than the first two. The games were on the line from start to finish.

“They got a good ending, we got a good ending and here we are at home. We’re excited about being back here, but the pace of the game and the series has been tremendous and we expect it to continue along those lines.”

The series now shifts to the Mile High City, where the Avs have been impressive as well this season. Colorado has posted a 27-12-2 mark at Pepsi Center, including a 3-1-0 record against the Wild.

At the same time, Avalanche captain Joe Sakic says home-ice advantage can be somewhat overrated in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

“In our sport, you feel comfortable wherever you’re playing,” said Sakic. “When the puck drops you play, and you play to win.”

After leaving during the second period of Friday’s game in Minnesota with a leg injury, Avalanche rookie David Jones was back on the ice and participated in a full practice Sunday. Quenneville stated that the forward looked “good” out on the ice today.

Scott Parker (ankle) also practiced with the team for the first time since sustaining the  injury on March 11 at Atlanta.

“It’s the playoffs, so you need a lot of those garbage goals. You don’t see too many pretty goals.”

-Sakic, who said that plays in the slot haven’t been open against the Wild, meaning the Avalanche has to rely on point shots and plays from behind the net for scoring chances.

“Everybody’s likely to play, and it was a maintenance day for the guys who didn’t skate.”
-Quenneville, when asked about Peter Forsberg and Ian Laperriere, both of whom did not skate with the team Sunday.

“This is about three weeks of growth here, so it’s got a little ways to go before it starts itching.”
-John-Michael Liles’ response when asked about the status of his “work-in-progress” playoff beard.

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