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This Week In Avalanche Hockey - April 1

by Jeff Jacobson / Colorado Avalanche
The Colorado Avalanche will open its final month of the 2008-09 season on April Fools’ Day, as the Avs host Phoenix at Pepsi Center on Wednesday. Colorado will then depart on a two-game road trip with stops in Vancouver and San Jose for its final two road contests of the season,

Catch the Avs as they welcome Wayne Gretzky’s Phoenix Coyotes to Pepsi Center Wednesday.

Date Opponent Time (MT) TV/Radio
Wed, April 1 PHOENIX 7:00 p.m. Altitude HD / AM 1510
Sun, April 5 at Vancouver 8:00 p.m. Altitude / AM 1510
Tues, April 7 at San Jose 8:30 p.m. VERSUS / AM 1510


The Avs and Coyotes will wrap up the 2008-09 season series on Wednesday night at Pepsi Center. Colorado leads the all-time series with a record of 47-33-12-4, including a 25-16-5-2 mark at home. The Coyotes are 14th in the Western Conference standings but have won four of their last seven games heading into Wednesday’s contest with Colorado. Phoenix captain Shane Doan leads the Coyotes in all three scoring categories and was named the NHL’s Third Star of the Week for the period ending March 22 after recording seven points (3g/4a) in four games. Phoenix holds the edge in the season series against Colorado with a 2-1 mark, but the Avs managed a win in the only game in Denver on Dec. 23. Brett Clark scored 1:48 into overtime, lifting Colorado over Phoenix 5-4 at Pepsi Center. The Coyotes feature former Avs Ken Klee, Steven Reinprecht and Kurt Sauer.

Ryan Smyth and Daniel Sedin lead their respective clubs in goals and points heading into the final month of the regular season
Colorado will face off with Vancouver for the second time in 10 days on Sunday, as the Avs make their third and final trip to General Motors Place. Colorado is 8-2 in its last 10 contests with the Canucks, and had won eight consecutive games over Vancouver before falling on March 15 at GM Place. Colorado is 1-1 on the road against Vancouver. The Canucks have been one of the league’s hottest teams of late and are making a push for the Northwest Division title. Vancouver has won 20-of-26 (20-5-1) since Feb. 1, including four separate four-game winning streaks. The Sedin brothers have played a significant role in the Canucks’ success, with Daniel recording 77 points (30g/47a) and Henrik nipping at his heals with 76 points (19g/57a) through the end of March. Netminder Roberto Luongo hit the 30-win plateau for the fourth straight season in Vancouver’s 2-1 victory over Minnesota on March 31. The Avalanche franchise holds a commanding lead in the all-time series with a 62-41-15-4 mark, including a 30-21-7-3 record on the road.

Tuesday’s late evening contest will close out the season series between the Avs and Sharks, as Colorado visits HP Pavilion for the second time in 17 days. The Sharks own the league’s best record and have already clinched the Pacific Division title. San Jose sits three points ahead of Boston and four ahead of Detroit in the race for the Presidents’ Trophy. The club has gone 5-1-1 in its last seven contests, and is led by Joe Thornton, who paces the team with 83 points (t-8th NHL) and 59 assists (t-4th NHL), entering Wednesday. The Avalanche is looking for its first win against the Sharks in 2008-09, as San Jose attempts to sweep the season series from Colorado for the first time in franchise history. Colorado still holds the advantage in the all-time series, claiming a 35-21-5-1 overall mark and going 18-12-1-0 on the road.

The Colorado Avalanche signed University of Minnesota forward Ryan Stoa and free agent forward Cedric McNicoll to entry-level contracts on Friday, March 27. Colorado’s first selection (second round, 34th overall) in the 2005 Entry Draft, Stoa was named to the 2008-09 All-WCHA First Team after leading the Gophers with 46 points (24g/22a) in 36 games during his junior season.  Stoa, Minnesota’s team captain, finished as the WCHA scoring champion with 36 points (19g/17a) in 27 league games. McNicoll, 20, led the Shawinigan Cataractes of the QMJHL with 104 points (38g/66a) in 65 regular season games.

Click here for the full release, highlights and an interview
with Ryan Stoa just minutes after signing with the Avalanche

Defenseman Ray Macias, who is expected to play his first NHL game Wednesday, will become the ninth Colorado player to make his NHL debut this year, the most in a single season in Avalanche history. The Avs had eight players make their debut in 1998-99. The eight others to play their first career game this year are Philippe Dupuis, Chris Durno, T.J. Galiardi, Matt Hendricks, Wes O'Neill, Derek Peltier, Chris Stewart and Mike Vernace. Colorado is now one behind Tampa Bay and the New York Islanders for the NHL lead in number of players to make their debut in 2008-09.

In this exclusive, rookie forward Chris Stewart fields fan questions ranging from his proudest moment to how Colorado's veteran players have helped him adjust to the NHL level.

Avalanche players T.J. Galiardi, Ian Laperriere and Derek Peltier recently took part in a Team Fit event, where they taught children from Shopneck Boys and Girls Club about the importance of proper nutrition.

Center Ben Guite was our guest in the latest installment of AvsCast. In this interview, Guite breaks down the NCAA Division I Men's Ice Hockey Championship and talks about his time at the University of Maine.

AvsCast – March 26: Ben Guite

Also, catch up on any installments you may have missed

The Avalanche will be represented by four prospects at the 2009 NCAA Men’s Frozen Four, which will be held April 9-11 at the Verizon Center in Washington, D.C. Boston University, the No. 1 overall seed in the tournament, boasts prospects Colby Cohen, Kevin Shattenkirk and Brandon Yip, while Miami (Ohio) University features Justin Mercier. Miami will face Bemidji St. in the first semifinal on April 9 at 3:00 p.m. MT (ESPN2), while BU and Vermont follows at 6:30 p.m. MT on ESPN2.

Click here to get full details on all the Avs youngsters, including a complete update on the QMJHL and OHL playoffs, and read a spotlight on newly signed Avs forward Ryan Stoa

On March 30, the Colorado Avalanche took part in the 2nd Annual Mile High Dreams Gala at Pepsi Center. The event featured gaming tables, themed music, food and a silent auction and included players from the Avalanche, Denver Nuggets, Colorado Mammoth and Colorado Rapids. Watch a video and view a photo gallery from Monday night’s event.

The weekly Avalanche show on Altitude Sports & Entertainment features a behind-the-scenes look at Avalanche players and coaches. This week’s show (April 8) features: a recap of the Mile High Dreams Gala, Altitude’s Peter Ruttgaizer questioning Daniel Tjarnqvist, Adam Foote, Ryan Smyth and Scott Hannan on who their hero is, Julie Browman testing Avs fans’ spelling skills and Andrew Raycroft and Ruslan Salei teaching 4th graders from Meadow Point Elementary School about nutrition.
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