Less than 10 hours after their plane landed from Edmonton, the Colorado Avalanche returned to the ice on Sunday afternoon for practice at the South Suburban Family Sports Center.
And while the practice was optional, the majority of Avalanche players had their skates back on and were ready to put the previous night’s 6-4 loss to the Oilers out of their mind and respond on Monday afternoon against the Nashville Predators.
“We have a game tomorrow afternoon at one o’clock so we just have bounce back,” said Shane O’Brien after practice. “You have to have a short-term memory, both good and bad. When you play good, you have to put it behind you the next day. When you play bad, you have to put it behind you the next day. We will look to respond tomorrow against a very good Nashville team. There is nothing you can do but move forward.”
Coach Joe Sacco expects his team to regroup and respond like they have all season on Monday against a Predators team that likes to hit and not give opposing teams a lot of room to work with.
“It is a good chance for our guys to respond,” Sacco said. “I talked to the group [since last night’s game] and every thing that we have talked about this year, we’ve always had a good response with, anything that we’ve had discussions with. Tomorrow is no different.”
Prior to the practice, Gabriel Landeskog was on the ice skating for the third straight day and the first time with coaches present. Assistant coaches Tim Army and Kirk McLean directed some heavy skating and shooting drills for the Colorado captain, who was wearing an orange non-contact jersey.
Landeskog has missed the last nine games with head and leg injuries, suffered in the first period of the Jan. 26 contest at San Jose.
“He is getting closer, but he is going through the necessary steps,” Sacco said. “Another good day for him and he is just going through the process right now. There is still no timetable for his return, but obviously it is a positive sign, three days in a row on the ice and each day the intensity has increased. We are hopeful that he will be in our lineup sometime in the near future.”
Goaltender Jean-Sebastien Giguere returned to the team for practice on Sunday after missing Saturday’s game in Edmonton for personal reasons. He made 26 saves on Thursday night in a win at Minnesota.
Colorado’s other goalie, Semyon Varlamov, was also out on the ice after making 50 saves last night against Edmonton.
Sacco said Varlamov would be the starting goaltender against Nashville.
The Avalanche reassigned Calvin Pickard to the Lake Erie Monsters after the goaltender was an emergency recall to backup Semyon Varlamov for Saturday night.
Colorado also recalled defenseman Stefan Elliott from Lake Erie.
Elliott appeared in 39 games with the Avalanche last season and totaled four goals and nine assists for 13 points. The Vancouver, British Columbia native has eight points in 36 games this year with the Monsters.
Notes From Saturday Night
- Varlamov’s 50 saves against the Oilers were the second-most in Avalanche team history since the club moved from Quebec. Patrick Roy holds the team record with 51 saves on Dec. 10, 1997 at Toronto. The franchise record is 70 saves, made by Ron Tugnutt on March 21, 1991 at Boston.
- Varlamov made 22 of his 50 saves in the first period against Edmonton, which was also one-save shy of another Roy record. Roy holds the Colorado team record for the most saves in a period, 23, which he did twice: on March 25, 1997 at Hartford (first period) and on Oct. 15, 1997 at Edmonton (third period).
- Tyson Barrie picked up two assists against Oilers, one game after picking up his first career point on Thursday at Minnesota (an assist). Barrie led the team in ice-time for the second straight contest, playing 22:33. He has played over 22 minutes in each of the last three games.
- Jamie McGinn had a three-point night against the Oilers, which set a new career-high. He had reached his previous high of two points in a game 11 times before, including twice this season.
- Matt Duchene tied a season-high with three points in the game (one goal, two assists). He also had a three points (two goals, one assist) on Jan. 24 against Columbus. Duchene is on a three-game goal streak and now has six goals and 17 assists (23 points) in 18 career games versus Edmonton.
- Jan Hejda had a season-high eight hits.
- Matt Hunwick finished the game with a season-high plus-3 rating.