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This Week In Avalanche Hockey: March 9

by Aaron Lopez / Colorado Avalanche

WEEK OF March 9-15
All Times Mountain

Fri, March 11 vs. Anaheim (7:00 p.m.)
Sat, March 12 @ Nashville (6:00 p.m.)

They Said It...

“When I came to the bench all the coaches and the players were staring at me with their jaws dropped, I was kind of like ‘maybe it’s pretty bad.’”

-Defenseman Ryan O’Byrne on Monday, discussing his facial injury with the media

Photo of the Week

Stat Of The Week

The Avs are still the only NHL team which has not had a shootout on home ice. Nine of Colorado’s home games have gone into overtime and all nine have ended with an OT goal.

Avalanche All-Access

This week on Avalanche All Access, Avalanche forward Philippe Dupuis joins co-hosts Kyle Keefe and Julie Browman at Brunswick Zone for a little fun at the bowling alley.  The bowling gets competitive, as Dupuis gets a “turkey” late in the game to beat Kyle by 10 pins.  Also, Keith Norton goes behind the scenes at Pepsi Center and finds out where all those hats go after they are thrown on the ice for a hat-trick, and he talks to fans about the split-second decision of “to throw, or not to throw.”  Plus, Mike Haynes chats with head coach Joe Sacco, and Peter McNab chimes in with his weekly “McNab Minute.”

The Avalanche plays a back-to-back home/road set this weekend, hosting Anaheim on Friday and traveling to Nashville for a Saturday night affair. The Avs then have three days to rest up and practice before beginning a three-game road swing through Western Canada next week.

Friday’s game at Pepsi Center will mark the third meeting of the season between the Avs and Ducks. Anaheim has taken the first two matchups, earning a 3-0 victory in Denver on Feb. 5 behind a Corey Perry hat trick and a 3-2 triumph at Honda Center on Feb. 27.

Immediately after Friday’s game, the Avs will jump on a chartered flight with the course set for Nashville, where they will take on the Predators in the tail end of a fairly rare home/road back-to-back set. Colorado and Nashville have met up twice this season, with the Predators skating away from Pepsi Center with a 5-1 win on Jan. 20 and then earning a 5-3 victory on their home ice on Feb. 12.

Factoring in Tuesday night’s game against the Minnesota Wild, the Avalanche has now lost 342 man-games due to injury. That number is the highest total in the Western Conference and the third most in the league behind the New York Islanders and the New Jersey Devils.

The club has suffered a number of long-term injuries that have added to that total, including current ailments to regulars Kyle Cumiskey (46 total games lost this season), Tomas Fleischmann (20), T.J. Galiardi (29), Peter Mueller (66) and Kyle Quincey (42). In addition, Ryan Stoa was knocked out of the lineup last week due to an emergency appendectomy.

“Like we always do, we try not to use those as excuses. We never have and we won’t start now,” said Avalanche head coach Joe Sacco. “But certainly, the man-games lost add up and it’s tough sometimes. I feel like it affects the energy of our team sometimes. But again, like we always do, we worry about the players that are in the lineup and not the ones that aren’t available to us.”

Defenseman John-Michael Liles is the only Avalanche player to appear in all 66 games this season, but he suffered a leg injury during the first period of Tuesday’s contest against the Wild. As of Wednesday morning, the exact status of his injury was yet to be determined.

Colorado will surpass last year’s man-games lost total (352) shortly, with a full month still remaining in the season.

-Ryan O’Byrne returned to action on Tuesday night against Minnesota. After Monday’s practice, the defenseman described, in detail, the severe facial laceration he suffered on Feb. 23 and the healing process that followed

-The Avs Better Halves hosted the Colorado Avalanche Charity Brunch on Sunday, March 6. You can view a photo gallery from the event and check out video pieces of both the fashion show and the Avalanche’s players and coaches serving brunch

-In this video piece, Colorado’s prospects and young players describe their greatest talents away from the rink

-Adam Foote made his return to the lineup Saturday against the Oilers. On that same day, it was revealed that forward Ryan Stoa would miss approximately two-to-three weeks due to an emergency appendectomy and that Peter Mueller has been shut down for the season because of his on-going concussion issues.

-Stefan Elliott is under the prospect spotlight in this week’s Farm Report. Elliott has been lighting up the Western Hockey League, and recently became the first league defenseman to hit the 30-goal plateau since the 2006-07 campaign

-Matt Duchene earned Avalanche “Play of the Week” honors for his touch pass that set up a Kevin Porter goal against the Anaheim Ducks

-Check out last week’s top goals, saves and hits from around the league columnist John Kreiser examines the importance of taking a lead into the third period staff writer Bill Dean advises fans on how to prepare for the stretch run in fantasy hockey staff writer Matt Cubeta also provides some fantasy insight, as he looks at 10 “under the radar” fantasy pickups

-Kroenke Sports Charities will host the annual Mile High Dreams Gala, A Toast to Our Teams on Tuesday, March 29. This unique event gives fans the opportunity to interact with players, coaches, alumni, dancers and mascots from the Colorado Avalanche, Denver Nuggets, Colorado Rapids and Colorado Mammoth

-Friday’s game against the Ducks will be a Family Night at Pepsi Center. For just $99, 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)

-The next Avalanche Mailbag will run on Thursday, March 10, so be sure to check back to to see if your question was chosen
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