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Soderberg Fitting In Nicely

by Ron Knabenbauer / Colorado Avalanche

BOSTON—Forward Carl Soderberg is fitting in nicely with the Colorado Avalanche after playing for the Boston Bruins for the past three seasons.

He makes his return to TD Garden for the first time this evening as the Avs face the Bruins in their second stop on the current seven-game road trip.

Soderberg tied a career high with two assists in Colorado's 4-0 victory on Tuesday night in Philadelphia and now has seven helpers and eight points this season while playing on the second line with Blake Comeau and Jarome Iginla. The win ended a two-game slide for the Avalanche.

"Yeah I think so," Soderberg said on being more comfortable with his new squad. "I think lately as a team we haven't gotten the result we wanted, but we're on the right track and I think we can get some more wins soon."

Soderberg made his NHL debut with the Bruins late in the shortened 2012-13 campaign, coming over to North America after his Swedish Hockey League season with Linkoping was over. He played in the final six games that year and appeared in two playoff contests as the Bruins made it all the way to the Stanley Cup Final against the Chicago Blackhawks.

He was a staple in the B's lineup the last two years, having playing in 73 contests in 2013-14 and all 82 in 2014-15. Soderberg is expected to appear in his 103rd consecutive game tonight.

"I had a great time in Boston. We made a Stanley Cup Final one year, and we won a Presidents' Trophy another year (2013-14)," Soderberg said. "I had a couple of good years here. We had a good team. It's fun to win so that is what we have to get to here."

The Bruins have been known to be a solid, defensive-minded squad, but this year it has been the opposite. The B's offense is ranked third in the league at 3.36 goals per game while their defense is 28th at 3.21 goals against per game.

Despite Boston bucking the trend, Soderberg sees a lot of similarities to the how the B's played defense when he was there and how the Avs currently play on the back end.

"It was good structure wise," he said. "We are good here too. We're just giving up too many goals. We have been a little bit unlucky in the start of the season too, but we're coming around."

MITCHELL LIKELY TO PLAY

Forward John Mitchell should to return to the Avs lineup this evening after missing the past four games with an oblique injury. He suffered the injury in the third period of the Avs' 4-3 loss to the San Jose Sharks on Nov. 1.

The official determination on if Mitchell plays will come after the team's pregame warmup.

"He should play tonight," Avalanche head coach Patrick Roy said. "We'll do the warmup with 21 [players], and we'll make a decision on who will be scratched after warmup."

Mitchell was the only player that skated this morning at TD Garden. The rest of the team only went through light workouts and meetings.

STUART HEADS HOME

The Avalanche sent Brad Stuart back to Denver as the defenseman is dealing with a back injury, Roy said this morning.

Stuart missed three games earlier this season because of a back ailment (Oct. 24-29) but had played in four of Colorado's last five contests.

Nate Guenin will take Stuart's spot on the back end, returning to the lineup after being a healthy scratch for the last four and five of the last six games.

MORE ON VARLY'S INJURY

Roy said Semyon Varlamov's groin injury isn't anything major, unlike last season when the goalie missed a combined 16 contests on four separate occasions.

"I don't know if it is the same area, but it is not as serious as it was last year," Roy said. "We don't want to take a chance, especially with the fact that we're going with Reto. I think it is a smart decision by us to take our time."

Reto Berra will start in goal against the Bruins and will likely play most of the games on the club's current seven-game road trip. Calvin Pickard will serve as Berra's backup tonight after being recalled from the Avalanche's AHL affiliate in San Antonio on Wednesday.

As of now, there is no timetable on if or when Pickard will get his turn to start in net.

"I think it is just a day-to-day thing right now," Pickard said this morning. "Reto is starting tonight and then we'll go from there."

POSSIBLE LINEUP

Colorado did not hold a morning skate on Thursday morning, but below are possible line combinations based on the groupings from Wednesday's practice at Boston University and in the game on Tuesday in Philadelphia.

Gabriel LandeskogNathan MacKinnonMatt Duchene
Blake Comeau
Carl Soderberg—John Mitchell/Jarome Iginla
Cody McLeod
Mikhail GrigorenkoDennis Everberg
Andreas Martinsen
Ben StreetJack Skille

Francois BeaucheminErik Johnson
Nick Holden
Tyson Barrie
Brandon Gormley
Nate Guenin

Reto Berra
Calvin Pickard

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