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Defense Looks To Step Up In Zadorov's Absence

Nikita Zadorov is out for the season with an ankle injury

by Ron Knabenbauer @RonKnab / ColoradoAvalanche.com

The Colorado Avalanche defensive corps will have to step up in the wake of Nikita Zadorov's injury that will force him to miss the remainder of the regular season.

Zadorov was involved in a collision and got tangled up with Mikko Rantanen during Monday's practice, resulting in both young players falling to the ice. The big defenseman from Moscow, Russia, took the brunt of the load, fracturing his ankle in the process.

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Avs And Kings Close Season Series At Pepsi Center

Colorado and Los Angeles have each won once in meetings this year

by Danielle Bernstein / ColoradoAvalanche.com

The Colorado Avalanche and Los Angeles Kings will play for the third and final time this season on Tuesday night at Pepsi Center. It's the second meeting of the season series in the Mile High City, where Colorado won the first matchup 4-1 on Nov. 15.

The teams have split the first two games of the 2016-17 series with the home team picking up the victory in each matchup. Colorado is 36-38-9 all-time against the Kings with a 22-17-1 record on home ice in the overall series.

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Third-Period Comeback Falls Short

The Avs fought back to force OT on Sunday

by Ryan Boulding @rboulding / ColoradoAvalanche.com

When Tampa Bay Lightning forward Vladislav Namestnikov beat Colorado Avalanche goaltender Calvin Pickard with a weak shot to deliver a 2-0 lead roughly halfway through Sunday's game at Pepsi Center, the Avs certainly could have fallen apart.

Having gone 1-4 on the recent season-long, five-game game road trip along the East Coast, the only thing the Avalanche had going for it was a big 2-1 victory in overtime at the Carolina Hurricanes on Friday.

Perhaps that confidence was enough for Colorado, which refused to lie down and let a hungry Lightning squad skate away with an easy triumph. The home team went into the dressing room at the second intermission and vowed to do better than it had in the first two frames.

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Avalanche Returns Home To Face Lightning

Colorado hosts Tampa Bay on You Can Play Night at Pepsi Center

by Danielle Bernstein / ColoradoAvalanche.com

The Colorado Avalanche plays its first game at Pepsi Center in 10 days, hosting the Tampa Bay Lightning on Sunday evening. It's the first home contest since Feb. 9 for Colorado as it returns from a season-long, five-game road trip.

This is the second game of a back-to-back set for Tampa Bay, its 11th of 16 sets this season. The Lightning are 2-4-4 in the second game of a back-to-back this season.

The Avs are 17-9-4 overall against the Lightning and have won three of the last four meetings, including the first one this season, a 4-0 shutout in Tampa on Oct. 20. As the home team in the all-time series, Colorado is 10-3-2 and has been victorious in six of the last seven. The Avalanche was shutout by the Lightning 4-0 in its last home game against Tampa on Jan. 12, 2016.

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Colorado Closes Out Carolina

Colorado finished its game and road trip on a high note

by Ron Knabenbauer @RonKnab / ColoradoAvalanche.com

RALEIGH, N.C.--Closing out the end of games has been a struggle for the Colorado Avalanche this season, but Friday night was not one of those instances.

The Avs held off a third-period push by the Carolina Hurricanes and won 2-1 in overtime at PNC Arena to finish their season-long, five-game road trip with a victory.

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Avs Close Out Road Trip At Hurricanes

by Danielle Bernstein / ColoradoAvalanche.com

The Colorado Avalanche finishes up a season-long, five-game road trip against the Carolina Hurricanes on Friday night, the second contest of a back-to-back set for the Avs. Colorado, which is 3-4-0 this season in the second game of such scenarios, is playing their second set of two games in two nights on this road trip and eighth of 10 during the 2016-17 campaign.

For Carolina, Friday's game is its first following its mandatory five-day bye week. The Hurricanes currently sit in eighth place in the Metropolitan Division and eight points out of a wild card spot in the Eastern Conference. 

The Avalanche is 16-6-6 all-time against the Hurricanes and 6-5-3 on the road in the overall series. However, Carolina has won the last six meetings in Raleigh.

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Penalties Kill Colorado's Momentum

Colorado can't capitalize on chances in Buffalo

by Ron Knabenbauer @RonKnab / ColoradoAvalanche.com

BUFFALO, N.Y.--The Colorado Avalanche had the start it wanted against the Buffalo Sabres, but penalties once again were killer for the club.

Colorado had five shots in the first 2:11 on Thursday night at KeyBank Center, but back-to-back fouls zapped the team's momentum and Buffalo controlled the rest of the period. The Avs took another infraction late in the first period, and Sam Reinhart struck on the power play early in the second to give the Sabres the only lead they would need.

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Pickard, Avalanche Know They Need To Be Better

Colorado looks to break winless streak in Buffalo

by Ron Knabenbauer @RonKnab / ColoradoAvalanche.com

BUFFALO, N.Y.--With Semyon Varlamov out for the season after having hip surgery to fix his injured groin, goaltender Calvin Pickard has been the Colorado Avalanche's main man between the pipes.

It's been an opportunity for the young goalie to see key NHL reps and showcase his skills in the best league in the world.

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Avalanche Opens Back-to-Back Set At Sabres

by Danielle Bernstein / ColoradoAvalanche.com

The Colorado Avalanche begins a back-to-back set against the Buffalo Sabres on Thursday, the first of two meetings between the teams this year. Buffalo will visit the Pepsi Center on Feb. 25 to close out the season series. This is also the fourth game of Colorado's season-long, five-game road trip, which has the team playing five games in seven days. 

It's the eighth of 11 back-to-back contests for the Avs, who will close out the road trip against the Carolina Hurricanes on Friday. The Avalanche is 2-5-0 in the first game of a back-to-back and 3-4-0 in the second this season. Buffalo enters Thursday's contest tied for fifth place in the Atlantic Division and tied with New Jersey and Florida in the Eastern Conference standings, five points out of a wild card spot.

Colorado is 15-8-4 all-time against Buffalo and 7-4-2 on the road, where it's won five of the last six meetings.

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Jeremy Smith's Patience Pays Off

The netminder made his NHL debut after eight seasons in the minors

by Ron Knabenbauer @RonKnab / ColoradoAvalanche.com

NEWARK, N.J.--Goaltender Jeremy Smith has had to deal with his fair share of long minor-league bus rides through the back roads of North America during his eight professional seasons of hockey.

Those extended trips and countless hours working on his craft finally culminated Tuesday night as the 27-year-old made his NHL debut for the Colorado Avalanche.

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