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Practice Report: Getting Started

by Aaron Lopez / Colorado Avalanche
Following Tuesday’s practice – and prior to the team’s departure for Minnesota –

Avalanche head coach Joel Quenneville spoke about going up against a Northwest Division opponent in the first round of the playoffs and discussed how it compares with facing a more unfamiliar foe.

The Avalanche and Wild have met eight times already this season, with another possible seven games on the docket in the opening round of the 2008 Stanley Cup Playoffs.

“It’s tough to differentiate which matchup would be better,” said Quenneville. “Certainly, there are advantages and disadvantages to both. We’re definitely familiar with each other at this point, but things change in the playoffs.”

Quenneville also stated that his team should have a full lineup of healthy bodies heading into Game 1 on Wednesday.

Meanwhile, Avalanche assistant captain Ian Laperriere is expecting more of the same from Minnesota when their series opens Wednesday, but with a few added twists.

“I think we match up pretty good. If you look at the record, all those games were tight,” said Laperriere. “It’s playoffs though. It’s different; it’s going to be a battle. We know that and they know that.”

As a netminder, going up against familiar opponents can be an advantage. Avs goaltender Jose Theodore is well aware of what the Wild brings to the ice, but is preparing for just about anything.

“As a goalie you have to be aware of their tendencies,” said Theodore. “I like to know who we’re playing against and what they like to do. They’re a skilled team and like to change things up. It’s going to be a hard and tight series for both teams.”

Date for Game 7 Changed
The NHL has announced a change for Game 7 of Colorado’s series against Minnesota, originally scheduled for Tuesday, April 22nd.

The game, if necessary, will now take place on Monday, April 21, with the time still to be determined.

A Different Kind of Playoffs
Paul Stastny is one of nine Avs who could make their playoff debut tomorrow against Minnesota. Needless to say, the second-year center can’t wait to step onto the ice.

“I’m excited. It’s what you play for all season,” said Stastny. “When you grow up, your dream is winning the Stanley Cup and that road starts tomorrow. It’s the start of a new season, and everyone is refreshed and ready to get going.”

When Stastny steps onto the ice at Xcel Energy Center on Wednesday, it will mark a bit of an anniversary for the former University of Denver Pioneer.

Three years ago to the day (April 9, 2005), Stastny scored a pair of goals against the University of North Dakota, leading the Pioneers to a 4-1 win and their second consecutive NCAA championship.

“I didn’t know that,” said a smiling Stastny. “That’s one playoff and this is a different one, so hopefully I can keep that good string going.”

Keep on Top of Things!
The Avalanche begins the 2008 Stanley Cup Playoffs on the road against the Minnesota Wild on Wednesday, April 9. All seven potential contests will be available on Altitude. A complete schedule for the series is as follows:

Date                                                TIME (MT)     Matchup                                      Network       
Wednesday, April 9, 2008           7 p.m.          Colorado at Minnesota             Altitude
Friday April 11, 2008                    7 p.m.          Colorado at Minnesota             Altitude/VERSUS
Monday, April 14, 2008               8 p.m.          Minnesota at Colorado            Altitude/VERSUS
Tuesday, April 15, 2008              8 p.m.          Minnesota at Colorado            Altitude/VERSUS

Thursday, April 17, 2008*            7 p.m.          Colorado at Minnesota             Altitude
Saturday, April 19, 2008*           TBD               Minnesota at Colorado           Altitude/VERSUS
Monday, April 21, 2008*               TBD              Colorado at Minnesota             Altitude
*if necessary

Click here for the full playoff schedule

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