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At the Rink: Avalanche at Jets

by Patrick Williams /

WINNIPEG -- The Colorado Avalanche (7-12-1) will have goaltender Semyon Varlamov in the lineup when they finish a seven-game road trip against the Winnipeg Jets (10-9-2) at MTS Centre on Monday (8 p.m. ET; ALT, TSN3).

Varlamov has missed the past seven games because of a groin injury. He returns after Colorado has lost three consecutive games and been outscored 16-7 in that stretch.

"We're very happy to have him back," Avalanche coach Patrick Roy said. "But [Varlamov] needs to be the [Varlamov] of two [seasons] ago. For us to win games he needs to be our best player, and this is how we view our team."

The Jets will be without their No. 1 goaltender. Ondrej Pavelec was placed on injured reserve Monday because of a significant knee sprain that he sustained in a collision with Shane Doan of the Arizona Coyotes on Saturday. He is expected to be out through at least December, according to Jets coach Paul Maurice.

How significant Pavelec's loss could be is something that Maurice acknowledged he does not know.

"We don't know the answer to that question. But we're going to find out," Maurice said.

Goaltender Michael Hutchinson will be in goal Monday against Colorado. Connor Hellebuyck, who was recalled from Manitoba of the American Hockey League on Sunday, will be the backup. In 10 AHL games, Hellebuyck is 2-7-1 with a 2.41 goals-against average and .927 save percentage.

The Jets also recalled forward Joel Armia from Manitoba, where he has three goals and four assists in 15 games.

"He's a really focused kid," Jets leading scorer Blake Wheeler said of Hutchinson. "He really takes care of himself well. He works hard every day. For a young goalie he just came in and worked his tail off last [season] and really earned himself a job and earned himself a place in the NHL."

The Avalanche emphasized the importance of turning a trip that is 3-3-0 so far into a winning one before they return home for two games.

"We're certainly not happy [with the past two games]," Roy said. "But despite that, seven games in 15 days, if we could go home with a 4-3-0 record, it would be something good for us. Especially finishing in Winnipeg with a divisional team.

"I'm not saying this is a crucial game for us, but it's a very important game. If we want to [make] up some ground on teams in the standings this is a good night to win a hockey game."

The trip matches the longest one ever for the Avalanche.

"We want to go home and come into our building feeling good about ourselves," said Avalanche captain Gabriel Landeskog, who will play his 300th NHL game.

Here are the projected lineups:


Gabriel Landeskog - Nathan MacKinnon - Matt Duchene

Blake Comeau - Carl Soderberg - Cody McLeod

Mikhail Grigorenko - Andreas Martinsen - Jarome Iginla

Dennis Everberg - Chris Wagner - Jack Skille

Francois Beauchemin - Erik Johnson

Nick Holden - Tyson Barrie

Brandon Gormley - Zach Redmond

Semyon Varlamov

Reto Berra

Injured: John Mitchell (oblique), Ben Street (chest), Brad Stuart (back), Alex Tanguay (knee), Jesse Winchester (concussion)

Scratched: Nate Guenin


Andrew Ladd - Bryan Little - Blake Wheeler

Mathieu Perreault - Mark Scheifele - Drew Stafford

Chris Thorburn - Alexander Burmistrov - Nikolaj Ehlers

Adam Lowry - Andrew Copp - Anthony Peluso

Toby Enstrom - Tyler Myers

Adam Pardy - Dustin Byfuglien

Mark Stuart - Jacob Trouba

Michael Hutchinson

Connor Hellebuyck

Injured: Grant Clitsome (back), Ondrej Pavelec (knee)

Scratched: Joel Armia, Ben Chiarot, Paul Postma

Status report: Other than Varlamov, Roy said the Avalanche will stick with the same lineup used in a 7-3 loss against the Washington Capitals on Saturday. … Maurice said that Hellebuyck will play "sooner rather than later," but did not specify a game. After playing Monday, they have games at the Washington Capitals on Wednesday, at the Minnesota Wild on Friday and at the Avalanche on Saturday.

Who's hot: Duchene six goals and six assists during a six-game point streak. He has nine goals in November, tying his NHL career-high for goals in a month. He also had nine goals in October 2013.

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