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Rink Notes: Anderson Practices

by Aaron Lopez / Colorado Avalanche
The Avalanche was on the ice this morning at Family Sports Center, getting ready for Friday’s tilt against the Tampa Bay Lightning.

Avalanche goaltender Craig Anderson, who has missed the past four games with a neck injury suffered on Dec. 2 at Florida, took part in a full practice today and could possibly suit up Friday.

“He feels like he’s ready to go,” Avalanche head coach Joe Sacco said after practice. “We’ll wait until tomorrow morning to see how he responds.”

Anderson went through the morning skate on Wednesday prior to the Avalanche’s game against Minnesota, but did not dress for that contest.

Tomorrow’s game will be the second meeting between the Avalanche and Lightning in 12 days, as Colorado earned a 3-0 shutout victory at the St. Pete Times Forum on Nov. 30. Tampa Bay is one of three Eastern Conference teams the Avs will face twice this season, along with the Carolina Hurricanes and Florida Panthers.

“We played very well against them in Tampa Bay to start out our last road trip,” said Sacco. “We’re looking to respond with a good effort tomorrow night. We know that last night didn’t go our way, so we should be better tomorrow night.”

Sacco’s lines during this morning’s practice were slightly different than they were during Wednesday’s loss to the Wild. Most notably, Marek Svatos wore a white jersey and moved up to skate with Matt Duchene and Milan Hejduk, while T.J. Galiardi wore a burgundy sweater along with Matt Hendricks, David Koci and Justin Mercier.

A Closer Look
Colorado holds a 6-1-1 record against teams from the Eastern Conference this season, while Tampa Bay has posted a 3-2-3 mark in eight games against Western Conference clubs.

Only St. Louis (71), Carolina (72) and Phoenix (75) have scored fewer goals than the Lightning (76) this season. On the flip side of the coin, the Avalanche ranks fifth in the NHL with 98 goals scored in 2009-10, trailing Washington (111), San Jose (108), Los Angeles (100) and Pittsburgh (99).

The Lightning are dealing with injuries to their top two goal scorers, as Ryan Malone and Steven Stamkos left Wednesday’s 3-2 loss to Edmonton due to injuries. Malone, second on the team with 16 goals, left during the first period with a lower-body injury. Stamkos, who leads the team with 17 tallies, took his leave in the second period after sustaining an upper-body injury. Both players are considered day-to-day, but it remains to be seen if one or both will play on Friday.
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