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This Week In Avalanche Hockey - Dec. 29

by Staff Writer / Colorado Avalanche

All Times Mountain

Thu, Dec. 30 @ Edmonton (7:30 p.m.)
Fri, Dec. 31 @ Calgary (7:00 p.m.)
Sun, Jan. 2 vs. Vancouver (6:00 p.m.)
Tue, Jan. 4 vs. Buffalo (7:00 p.m.)

They Said It...

 “I think Bruce Lee once said boards don’t hit back. He’s a liar. Maybe they don’t hit back, but they definitely don’t move."

-Greg Mauldin, after going face-first into the boards against Minnesota

Photo of the Week

Stat Of The Week

The Avalanche had a season-high 49 shots in Monday's 4-3 overtime loss to the Red Wings.  It was the club’s most shots since firing 51 pucks on net against the Columbus Blue Jackets on Nov. 12, 2002 at Pepsi Center.  Overall, Monday's 49-shot effort equaled the fifth-highest total in Avalanche history, with the record being 57 on March 5, 1996 vs. San Jose. 

Avalanche All-Access

This week on Avalanche All Access, Kyle Keefe, Mike Haynes, and Bernie the mascot head to SkyVenture Colorado for some indoor skydiving fun.  Haynes also brings his daughter, Kiara, along and the group has a blast as Bernie becomes the first ever dog to skydive!  Julie Browman also takes Avalanche defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk to Park Meadows Mall for some holiday shopping, and we check in with head coach Joe Sacco, who talks about staying focused during the busy holiday season.

Maybe a short road trip is exactly what the Colorado Avalanche needs to break a three-game winless streak. Immediately after winning six games in a row, the Avs have totaled one point in their last three contests – all of which have come at Pepsi Center.

Colorado will play four games within the next week, starting with back-to-back road contests against Edmonton (Thursday) and Calgary (Friday). The two-game road trip will be crucial for an Avalanche squad that holds a 2-5-1 record within the Northwest Division, compared to a 17-7-4 mark against the rest of the National Hockey League.

After the two-game road swing, Colorado returns to Pepsi Center to open another five-game homestand with contests against the Vancouver Canucks (Sunday) and Buffalo Sabres (Tuesday). Through Tuesday’s games, Vancouver (49 points) is the only team ahead of Colorado (43 points) in the Northwest Division.

Tuesday’s game will be the only meeting between the Avalanche and Sabres this season. The teams faced off once last year as well, which ended in a 4-3 Colorado victory following an 11-round shootout on Jan. 9 in Buffalo.

Colorado is in the middle of its busiest stretch of home games this season, during which the team plays 15 home contests in a 45-day span. But often, a few games on the road can be a bonding experience for a club and help them refocus.

The Avs have been successful on the road this season, posting a 9-6-3 record and 21 points (tied for the seventh-most road points in the league through Tuesday’s games).

And maybe a little time away from Pepsi Center will also help out the Avalanche’s penalty kill, which struggled during Monday’s 4-3 overtime loss to Detroit. The Avalanche’s penalty killing unit has been significantly better on the road (84.4%, eighth in the NHL) than it has at home (75.9%, 29th in the league) through the first part of the season.

-Defenseman Ryan Wilson is the subject of our latest “Five Quick Questions” feature. In this piece, Ryan names the most useless item he owns, his favorite toy growing up and more.

-Avalanche prospects Tyson Barrie (Canada) and Sami Aittokallio (Finland) are currently representing their home countries at the 2011 IIHF World Junior Championship.

-Matt Duchene picked up his third Avalanche Play of the Week honor in the past four weeks for his overtime goal against the Ottawa Senators.

-Check out a video from Altitude Sports & Entertainment, in which Kevin Shattenkirk discusses his rookie season.

-How does a trip to the NHL All-Star Game sound? One lucky Avs fan will win two lower-level tickets, flight and hotel accommodations to the 2011 NHL All-Star Game at RBC Center in Raleigh, N.C. The registration deadline for this contest is Jan. 3.

-There has been some talk lately about weather concerns heading into the 2011 Bridgestone NHL Winter Classic. Click here to read about how the NHL is handling those possible issues.

-Speaking of the Winter Classic, Senior Writer Dan Rosen sits down for a Q&A with Dan Craig, the NHL's Facilities Operations Manager. columnist John Kreiser looks back at some of the top hockey storylines from the past year.

-Due to popular demand, the Avalanche’s Holiday Pack offer has been extended. Get four great games for one low price, a free Avalanche scarf and an autographed puck signed by Matt Duchene, John-Michael Liles or Chris Stewart.

-Don’t miss out on the Arby’s Faceoff 4-Pack deal when the Avalanche hosts the Vancouver Canucks on Sunday. With this offer, you’ll receive 4 tickets, 4 regular roast beef sandwiches, 4 small curly fries, 4 medium Pepsis and a $10 Altitude Authentics gift card (Redeemable at Denver area Arby's locations, not including Pepsi Center) for just $99.

-The Avalanche is offering yet another great ticket deal on Tuesday when the team hosts Buffalo. Be sure to pick up your KYGO Puck Pack, which includes two lower-level tickets, two Pepsis and a $10 Altitude Authentics gift card for $98.50.

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