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Wednesday's Practice Report

by Aaron Lopez / Colorado Avalanche
Goalie Craig Anderson summed things up best following Tuesday night’s 5-0 defeat to the Los Angeles Kings, a game that halted Colorado’s winning streak at six games.

“For us, it’s take this tape, learn from it and throw it in the garbage,” said Anderson. “You can’t get too high, you can’t get too low. That’s the way things go in this game.”

That was the exact mindset of Colorado’s players during the team’s Wednesday morning practice at Family Sports Center. Onward, upward and on to the next challenge.

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“You’re not going to dwell on it too long. We had a nice stretch of games there and obviously last night we came out flat and really didn’t play well,” said defenseman Matt Hunwick. “It’s not going to help if we keep dwelling on it, so we just have to prepare for tomorrow night’s game. After that we have a nice little break, so there’s no reason to not come out hard and be enthusiastic.”

Colorado’s next test will come Thursday night in the form of the Minnesota Wild. The contest will be the Avalanche’s first against a Northwest Division opponent since Oct. 27 (also against Minnesota at Pepsi Center), as well as the team’s final outing before a short hiatus.

All 30 NHL teams will be off both Friday and Saturday for the league’s annual holiday break. In fact, it’s been nearly 40 years since any team played on Christmas Eve (last games were played on this date in 1972) or Christmas Day (1971).

“They’re a tough team to play against and are real defensive. They trap a little bit and have a very good neutral zone forecheck,” forward Kevin Porter said of the Wild. “A win would be huge, especially after the way the Kings took it to us. Mentally it would be huge for us and then physically we can rest a little bit and refocus.”

For Hunwick, Thursday’s contest will be his first taste of Northwest Division hockey. The defenseman was acquired by the Avalanche on Nov. 29, two days after the Avs’ last divisional outing.

“It’ll be exciting to get back into the division. That’s really where you need to do damage and gain points. You have to elevate yourself,” said Hunwick. “We’ll have two days off where we’re not skating and we want to have a good feeling when we leave on the 23rd.”

Hejduk, McLeod Still Day-to-Day
Avalanche forwards Milan Hejduk and Cody McLeod will not be available tomorrow against Minnesota, with both players are still recovering from groin injuries.

The pair skated together before practice this morning and Hejduk even stayed on the ice for the first portion of the full-team skate, but both are still considered day-to-day at this point.

Following practice Avalanche head coach Joe Sacco noted that his preference is to wait until Hejduk and McLeod are fully healthy before they return to the lineup, just so neither player suffers a setback.

Sacco also noted that Craig Anderson be in goal Thursday, marking the netminder’s ninth consecutive start.
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