Strange as it may sound, the 2008-09 regular season is approximately one-third of the way in the books, yet the Avalanche’s longest homestand to date is only two games (which has happened on three different occasions).
That will all change shortly, as Sunday night’s 5-4 shootout win over the Vancouver Canucks marked the opening of a three-game stint at Pepsi Center. The Avalanche will take on the Los Angeles Kings on Tuesday before facing the Chicago Blackhawks on Friday to complete the homestand.
Last night’s game was also the beginning of a stretch that will see the Avs play eight of their next 13 games – and looking even further down the road, 18-of-26 contests –at home. That may be a sign of good things to come, as Colorado has won three in a row in the Mile High City after starting the season with a 4-5-0 record at Pepsi Center. Overall, the Avs have earned victories in four of their last five games in Denver.
“We have to take advantage of this homestand. Especially after Christmas, games will be even tougher than they are right now,” said Ian Laperriere. “We have to expect to win these games at home and make it hard for the other team to come in our building.”
Defenseman Daniel Tjarnqvist concurs with Laperriere, noting how much of an advantage it can be for the club to have the Pepsi Center crowd behind it.
“It’s really nice to be back in front of the home crowd,” said Tjarnqvist. “We have to start moving up into the top half of the standings, which is where they want to be. We’ll be working hard to get there and these upcoming games could help.”
Next up for the Avalanche is a youthful, talented Los Angeles Kings squad.
“They’re a young team that works hard. They have a great future in front of them, so it’s really going to be a battle tomorrow,” said Laperriere.
Foote, Guite, Tucker Skate Adam Foote, Ben Guite and Darcy Tucker were all on the ice at some point today.
Guite (ribs) and Tucker (knee) did some skating prior to this morning’s practice, while Foote (upper back/knee) took part in drills with his teammates.
Foote has not played since suffering an injury in the second period on Nov. 22 at Los Angeles. He was placed on injured reserve on Nov. 29 (retroactive to Nov. 22).
“He’s progressing very nicely and was in practice today, but won’t be available tomorrow,” said Avalanche head coach Tony Granato. "He’ll skate with us again in the morning, so he’s coming along really well.”
Meanwhile, Granato characterized the status of both Guite and Tucker as “progressing, but still indefinite.”