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Avalanche aim to get back in win column vs. Sabres

by Adam Kimelman /

AVALANCHE (6-1-0) at SABRES (1-7-1)


Season series: This will be the teams' first meeting since March 14, 2012, when the Colorado Avalanche beat the Buffalo Sabres 5-4 in a shootout in Buffalo. The Avs have won the last five games between the teams; the Sabres' last win against the Avalanche was Dec. 4, 2005.

Big story: The Avalanche will try to rebound from their first loss of the season while the Sabres are looking to get back to where they were two games ago, when they beat the New York Islanders in a shootout for their first -- and only -- victory of the season.

Team Scope:

Avalanche: Obviously the Avalanche weren't going to go 82-0-0, and while coach Patrick Roy was disappointed to lose for the first time in his NHL coaching career, he came out of his team's 4-2 loss to the Detroit Red Wings on Thursday feeling pretty good.

"We didn't have the result, but I'm telling you, if we play a lot of games like this, we're not going to lose that many," Roy told the Denver Post. "We'll win our share of games like this."

Matt Duchene, who had five shots on goal but saw his four-game point-scoring streak snapped, echoed his coach's sentiments.

"Other than the first period I think we played a good game," he told the Denver Post. "I really liked our second period and we really battled."

Sabres: At 1-7-1 and sitting 15th in the Eastern Conference entering the weekend, it's pretty easy for the Sabres to be a pretty down bunch right now.

So why not have a dance contest?

At the urging of coach Ron Rolston, a few of the team's younger players did their best "Dancing With the Stars" imitation after practice Friday.

"Twerking on skates," forward Tyler Ennis said. "That'll be the first time."

"You need things to pick your spirits up," co-captain Steve Ott said. "We have so many young guys that we continue to try to keep the mood light. Had some fun out there on the ice."

Ennis pegged 2012 first-round pick Zemgus Girgensons as the winner.

"I thought Girgensons won it," Ennis said. "I think he was moving pretty good out there. Looked a little bit like Miley Cyrus."

Who's hot: Duchene has seven points in his first seven games and leads the Avalanche with five goals. … No player has seen more pucks than Sabres goalie Ryan Miller, but his .935 save percentage through six games is the best of his career.

Injury report: Avalanche forward Cody McLeod us facing an in-person hearing with the NHL after a hit against the Red Wings that left Niklas Kronwall with a concussion. He can't play until then. … Sabres forward Ville Leino (rib) is out. Defenseman Nikita Zadorov (finger) could make his NHL debut. Girgensons (face) is questionable. Forward Patrick Kaleta is sitting out a 10-game suspension.


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