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This Week In Avalanche Hockey: March 30

by Aaron Lopez / Colorado Avalanche

WEEK OF March 30-April 5
All Times Mountain

Thu, Mar. 31 vs. Nashville (7:00 p.m.)
Fri, Apr. 1 @ Phoenix (8:00 p.m.)
Sun, Apr. 3 vs. Calgary (6:00 p.m.)

Tue, Apr. 5 @ St. Louis (6:00 p.m.)

They Said It...

 “That’s part of the role we have to embrace is spoiler. Obviously mathematically we’re out of the playoffs right now. It’s just part of the process we have to enjoy is playing these playoff teams that we can alter their chances of making the playoffs. It’s not the role we want to be in right now but it’s the reality of what we have to do.”

-Defenseman Erik Johnson, describing the Avalanche’s mindset heading into the final few games of the season

Photo of the Week

Stat Of The Week

Heading into Thursday’s tilt against Nashville, the Avs have scored 12 goals in their last four games (13 if you include the goal awarded for winning a shootout).  Prior to this stretch, Colorado scored just 14 goals in its previous eight games this month.

Avalanche All-Access

This week on Avalanche All Access, host Kyle Keefe is joined by team captain Adam Foote at the Village Cork Wine Bistro in Denver. 

Kyle and Adam take part in a wine tasting and Foote talks about the backyard ice rink he built for his kids. 

Also, head coach Joe Sacco discusses Milan Hejduk’s 900th career game.  Plus, Peter McNab talks about the improved play of Ryan O’Reilly in his “McNab Minute.”

The Avalanche has a busy week ahead, playing four games within a six-day span. The team won’t have time to get too comfortable in one spot, as they will alternate between home and road games over their next four outings.

After returning from their quick Southern California road trip, Colorado opens the week with a Thursday night game at home against the Nashville Predators. Nashville has won each of the first three meetings between the clubs this season, outscoring Colorado by a 14-6 margin.

Right after Thursday night’s game, the Avs will hop on a plane bound for Glendale, Ariz., where they will take on the Phoenix Coyotes in the second half of back-to-back games. Like Nashville, Phoenix has also had Colorado’s number this year. The Coyotes have won the first three meetings by a combined 10-2 score.

The Avalanche then returns home for a Sunday night tilt against Calgary. These Northwest Division rivals will be meeting for the final time this season, with Calgary currently holding a 4-1 advantage in the series. The Flames are currently just on the outside of the playoff picture looking in, so the Avs may have the chance to play spoiler to Calgary’s postseason hopes.

Finally, Colorado will wrap up the week with a contest in St. Louis, where former Blues Erik Johnson and Jay McClement will be returning for the second time since being acquired via trade. The Avalanche will be looking to sweep the season series with St. Louis after holding a 14-9 scoring margin through their first three meetings this season.

If you somehow missed the biggest Avalanche-related news last week, the club will soon officially welcome back a very familiar face.

Joe Sakic, who wrapped up his 20-year NHL career two seasons ago, will return to the organization in an official capacity at the end of the 2010-11 campaign. The former captain’s official title will be Executive Advisor/Alternate Governor of the Avalanche, and he will be involved in all aspects of hockey operations.

Sakic recently attended the Board of Governors Meetings to gain a better understanding of the business side of the game, and apparently liked what he saw enough to peak his interest, eventually leading to his return to the club.

“I feel excited about getting involved more with the organization,” said Sakic. “The fact that the Avalanche is giving me this opportunity shows how much they trust my background and hockey experience. I look forward to this new expanded role with the franchise.”

-Matt Duchene, Erik Johnson and many other players responded to your questions in the latest Avalanche Mailbag

-Avalanche prospects Tyson Barrie and Stefan Elliott have been named the two finalists for the WHL Defenseman of the Year award

-Speaking of Barrie, the blueliner signed an entry-level contract with the Avalanche on Friday. The Avalanche also announced that same day that they had come to terms with goaltender Calvin Pickard on an entry-level deal

-Staying on the prospect front, this week’s Farm Report puts Lake Erie forward Ben Walter under the prospect spotlight

-Defenseman Jonas Holos is the latest Av to be featured in a “Five Quick Questions” piece

-We examine how second-year center Ryan O’Reilly has been rounding into form recently and flashing his offensive potential

-Ryan Stoa’s shootout winner against Edmonton was voted as the Avalanche’s Play of the Week

-The Avalanche Alumni Association honored former forward Scott Young prior to Thursday’s game against Toronto. Check out this feature that highlights Young’s career

-Take a look at’s “Best of the Week” video, which highlights the top goals, hits and saves from around the league writer Bill Dean examines some of the biggest fantasy hockey surprises of the season and also lists some of the top waiver-wire pickups that may be available in your league

-It’s being reported that Los Angeles Kings superstar Anze Kopitar won’t return until next season after suffering a severe ankle injury during this past Saturday’s game against the Avalanche

-A great read regarding a feel-good sportsmanship story from the New Jersey high school playoffs

-Thursday will be a KeyBank Guys Night Out at Pepsi Center, where you and a friend can purchase two tickets, two beers and two Guys Night Out t-shirts for just $59.

-Sunday’s game against Calgary will be another Avalanche Family Night. With this deal you’ll receive four tickets, four Pepsis and four Family Meals (Choice of Hot Dog, Pizza, Cheese Steak, Nacho Deluxe, Salad, Bigger Burger or Tender w/Fries) for $99.

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