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This Week In Avalanche Hockey - Jan. 5

by Aaron Lopez / Colorado Avalanche

All Times Mountain

Thu, Jan. 6 vs. Phoenix (7:00 p.m.)
Sat, Jan. 8 vs. NY Islanders (1:00 p.m.)
Mon, Jan. 10 vs. Detroit (7:30 p.m.)

They Said It...

 “He (John-Michael Liles) also ripped off one of my shirts once; literally just ripped it right off because it had a sideways zipper on it.”

-T.J. Galiardi, talking about the biggest pranksters on the team in the latest Avalanche Mailbag

Photo of the Week

Stat Of The Week

John-Michael Liles is one of only six U.S.-born defensemen in NHL history to record 30 or more points in his first seven seasons in the league. Dave Ellett, Phil Housley, Mark Howe, Brian Rafalski and Gary Suter are the others.

Avalanche All-Access

This week on Avalanche All Access, defenseman Matt Hunwick joins Kyle Keefe and Julie Browman at The Cherry Cricket to try their award-winning burgers.  Plus, John-Michael Liles talks about his days at the Culver Military Academy in his home state of Indiana, and Peter McNab takes a look back at the Winter Classic in his McNab Minute.  Also, Mike Haynes talks with head coach Joe Sacco, and we look back at the drama-filled week of games for the Avalanche.

The Avalanche caps off another five-game homestand this week with games against the Phoenix Coyotes, New York Islanders and Detroit Red Wings. After a big overtime victory against the Buffalo Sabres on Tuesday, the Avs must utilize their time at Pepsi Center to keep moving up in the standings.

On Thursday the Avalanche and Coyotes will meet up for the first of four times this season. The two teams will also face off on Jan. 26 at Pepsi Center – the last day games can be played prior to the All-Star Break. The Avs will then travel to the desert on Feb. 7 and April 1. Colorado and Phoenix split their four matchups last season, with each team winning twice on its home ice.

The Avs will play their first afternoon contest of the season on Saturday when they host the Islanders at 1:00 p.m.  Although the Islanders currently sit 14th in the Eastern Conference with 30 points (12-19-6), the team has been heating up lately. The Isles have recorded points in eight of their last nine games, posting a 7-1-1 mark during that stretch. The Avs and Islanders met up earlier this season on Oct. 16 – a 5-2 victory for New York.

The Red Wings come to town for the second and final time on Monday evening. Colorado is 1-1-1 against Detroit in 2010-11, winning by a 5-4 count in a shootout on Oct. 12, dropping a 3-1 decision on Nov. 13 and then falling in overtime, 4-3, on Dec. 27 at Pepsi Center.

The Avalanche got back on the winning track Tuesday by defeating the Buffalo Sabres , 4-3, in overtime on David Jones’ power-play goal during the extra session. Now, the Avalanche needs to build off that momentum and take advantage of a heavy home schedule in January.

Despite playing well in the majority of its recent home games, Colorado had gone winless in four consecutive outings at Pepsi Center before beating Buffalo – and it’s a trend the team wants to quickly put to an end.

“We wanted to come out of that home slump,” said Matt Duchene. “I think we’ve played some really good hockey at home. If you look at the last two games where we’ve had Vancouver and Detroit, I think those were games we could have won.”

The Avalanche has three games remaining on its current homestand. After a quick two-game road swing through Chicago and Minnesota, Colorado will have one more five-game stint at Pepsi Center later this month prior to the NHL All-Star Break.

-You asked the questions and the Avs provided the answers. Take a peek at the latest Colorado Avalanche Mailbag.  This week, John-Michael Liles talks about his fake tooth, David Koci discusses how he became a fighter and Paul Stastny breaks down a typical day on the road.

-Don’t miss this Ryan O’Reilly video feature from Altitude Sports & Entertainment. In the video, Ryan talks about his family life growing up – which included dozens of foster children and plenty of pick-up hockey.

-Avalanche prospects Sami Aittokallio (Finland) and Tyson Barrie (Canada) suited up for their home countries at the 2011 IIHF World Junior Championship.

-Once again, Matt Duchene was the recipient of the Avalanche’s Play of the Week – this time for his game-tying goal against the Detroit Red Wings.

-This week’s Farm Report shines the spotlight on Boston College forward Paul Carey, who had a big weekend for the Eagles at the Ledyard National Bank Classic

-The first six players have been named to the 2011 NHL All-Star Game. See who the top vote-getters were in this year’s balloting.

-The remaining 36 players who will compete in the 2011 NHL All-Star Game will be announced on Jan. 11.

-NHL V.P. of Hockey and Business Development Brendan Shanahan stresses that the All-Star Game – and the weekend as a whole – should be embraced with a fun, comedic edge.

-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.

-The next Avalanche Family Night will take place on Saturday, Jan. 8, when the New York Islanders come to Pepsi Center. Get 4 Tickets, 4 Pepsis and 4 Family Meals for just $99!

-The next KeyBank Guys Night Out will happen on Thursday, Jan. 6, when Colorado hosts the Phoenix Coyotes. Receive two tickets, two beers and two Guys Night Out t-shirts for $59.

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