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The Eastern Swing

by Ron Knabenbauer / Colorado Avalanche

The Colorado Avalanche heads out on the road this week for its first road trip of the season, a three-game stop in the Eastern Conference. All three opponents the Avs will face made the playoffs last season.

This trip will be the first games for Colorado against Eastern Conference clubs since 2011-12, as the Avs only played Western Conference teams during last year's shortened season.

Colorado finished with a 13-4-1 (.750) record against Eastern Conference teams in 2011-12, going 7-2-0 at home and 6-2-1 on the road. The club went 5-0 in its first East Coast trip that season, which marked the best road trip of at least five games in franchise history. The Avs went on to win six straight games on the road overall.

The Avalanche will look to duplicate that same success in this year's first road trip.

"We’ve just got to look at that [first game] and not worry about the other two game, but we’ve got to establish ourselves as a good road team," said Colorado center Paul Stastny. "In the past I think we’ve done pretty well, but we’ve got to do well both at home and on the road, and this starts with this road trip."

Tuesday, Oct. 8 at Toronto, 5 p.m. MT
TV: Altitude, TSN, RDS2

The first stop for the Avs will be to the capital of Ontario and the hockey-crazed city of Toronto. The Maple Leafs are coming off one of their best seasons in recent years in which they made the playoffs and were within 10 minutes of moving in the Eastern Conference Semifinals before the Boston Bruins went on a historic comeback and won the Game 7 quarterfinal in overtime.

The Leafs have continued that momentum from last year to this season as they are off to a 3-0-0 start and are atop the Atlantic Division. Toronto defeated Montreal 3-1 on opening night, topped Philadelphia 3-1 last Wednesday and pulled out a 5-4 shootout victory over Ottawa on Saturday night.

Colorado and Toronto last met on Oct. 17, 2011 with the Avalanche prevailing 5-4 in overtime at Air Canada Centre. The two clubs will meet in Denver on Jan. 21.

Thursday, Oct. 10 at Boston, 5 p.m. MT
TV: Altitude

After its Game 7 comeback win over the Maple Leafs last season, the Bruins continued its playoff run all the way to the Stanley Cup Finals before falling to the Chicago Blackhawks in six games.

Despite falling short of its second championship in three seasons, Boston is just as dangerous this year and could make another Stanley Cup run. The team bolstered its lineup in the offseason by trading for Loui Eriksson from Dallas and signing Jarome Iginla during free agency.

The Bruins will have four days off before facing the Avalanche on Thursday. Like Toronto, Boston is off to a good start with dominating performances in its first two games. The Bruins defeated Tampa Bay 3-1 last Thursday and won 4-1 over the Detroit Red Wings on Saturday.

The Avs won the last meeting against the B's, 1-0, on Oct. 10, 2011. Boston will visit Pepsi Center on March 21.

Saturday, Oct. 12 at Washington, 5 p.m. MT
TV: Altitude, RDS

Colorado closes out its three-game trip on Saturday against the Washington Capitals.

After being edged 6-4 in its season opener to the defending Stanley Cup champion Blackhawks, the Capitals had a bounce-back performance two nights later against the Calgary Flames. Washington erased a 3-0 first-period deficit and scored three unanswered goals in the third to tie the game at 4-4 before winning in a shootout. The Capitals, though, couldn't keep the momentum going as they lost 2-1 to the Dallas Stars on Saturday.

Despite the 1-2 record, Washington has loads of talent and with reigning league MVP Alex Ovechkin leading the charge, expect the Capitals to compete for another division title this season. Ovechkin was named the league's First Star this past week after posting four goals and six points in Washington's first three games.

Colorado won the last meeting against Washington, 2-1, at home on Dec. 17, 2011. The Avs also won their last contest at the Verizon Center, 3-2, on Dec. 11, 2010. The teams will meet in Denver on Nov. 10.

Washington will play one game before the facing the Avalanche, on Thursday at home against Carolina.

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