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Avalanche start mini-homestand against Senators

by Rick Sadowski / NHL.com

SENATORS (11-5-5) at AVALANCHE (8-12-1)

TV: TSN5, RDS, ALT

DENVER -- After being away for two weeks, the Colorado Avalanche play the Ottawa Senators at Pepsi Center on Wednesday, their first home game since Nov. 6.

The Avalanche (8-12-1) went 4-3-0 on the road trip and need to start reeling off some wins at home, where they've gone 2-5-1. They'll also play the Winnipeg Jets on the two-game homestand.

"Our home record isn't good enough," said Matt Duchene, who is playing right wing on a line with left wing Gabriel Landeskog and center Nathan MacKinnon. "We have to make these two count. We have these guys tonight, and they're playing very well, and then Winnipeg, and they're always tough. We want to go 2-0, nothing less on this homestand."

Duchene is one of the NHL's hottest scorers with seven goals and six assists during a seven-game scoring streak. He had one goal in October and has 10 in November to tie the franchise record Claude Lemieux set in 1995-96.

"I'm trying to be around the net more," Duchene said. "It's really the only thing I've changed. Most goals nowadays, if you look at the guys who are up there in scoring, they're getting to loose pucks and just firing them. It's kind of the way to score nowadays and it's working for me right now, but it's a matter of sticking with it."

Avalanche coach Patrick Roy plans to stick with goalie Semyon Varlamov as long as he stays healthy. Varlamov made 20 saves Monday in the Avalanche's 4-1 win against Winnipeg in his first game since Nov. 5. He missed the previous seven games, five because of a groin injury.

"Is he having the start he wants? Probably not," Roy said of Varlamov, who has a 4-6-1 record, 3.05 goals-against average and .894 save percentage. "But he's still our No. 1 goalie and he's the guy that we rely on to win hockey games. He played really well in Winnipeg and let's see what's going to happen tonight against Ottawa."

The Senators (11-5-5) turn to goalie Craig Anderson for the sixth consecutive game even though he played Tuesday in a 7-4 win against the Dallas Stars. Andrew Hammond is on injured reserve because of a head injury and the backup is rookie Chris Driedger, who on Monday was recalled from Binghamton of the American Hockey League.

"It's a situation where if Hammond was healthy he'd be playing," Senators coach Dave Cameron said. "You talk to Andy, the more work he gets, he says he likes it. You look at other teams, they have goalies who play 60-plus games. Quite simply, you play the guy you think gives you the best chance to win, and he gives us the best chance every night."

A handful of players took part in Ottawa's optional skate.

Here are the projected lineups:

SENATORS

Mike Hoffman - Kyle Turris - Bobby Ryan

Shane Prince - Mika Zibanejad - Mark Stone

Milan Michalek - Jean-Gabriel Pageau - Alex Chiasson

Curtis Lazar - Zack Smith - Chris Neil

Marc Methot - Erik Karlsson

Jared Cowen - Cody Ceci

Mark Borowiecki - Chris Wideman

Craig Anderson

Chris Driedger

Injured: Andrew Hammond (head), Clarke MacArthur (concussion), Chris Phillips (back), Patrick Wiercioch (upper body)

Scratched: Colin Greening, Michael Kostka

AVALANCHE

Gabriel Landeskog - Nathan MacKinnon - Matt Duchene

Andreas Martinsen - Mikhail Grigorenko - Jarome Iginla

Cody McLeod - Carl Soderberg - Blake Comeau

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 (head)

Scratched: Nate Guenin

Status report: Tanguay, who was injured Nov. 6 against the New York Rangers, has resumed skating but is expected to miss another three weeks.

Who's hot: Ryan has four goals and seven assists in a nine-game scoring streak ... Karlsson has five goals and six assists in a seven-game streak ... Comeau and Soderberg each have a goal and two assists in a two-game streak.

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