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Busy stretch continues for Avalanche, Jets

by Mike Battaglino

AVALANCHE (44-20-5) at JETS (31-30-9)


Last 10: Colorado 7-3-0; Winnipeg 3-4-3

Season series: Matt Duchene scored in overtime to give the Colorado Avalanche a 3-2 win against the Winnipeg Jets nine days ago. It was the third consecutive meeting that needed extra time, the other two won by Winnipeg, after Colorado won a one-goal game in regulation in late October.

Big story: Each team will be playing its third game in a third city in four nights. Colorado lost 6-3 at the Montreal Canadiens on Tuesday in Patrick Roy's first game as an NHL coach where he started his playing career.

Winnipeg closes its busy stretch against another of the NHL's top teams. The Jets lost at the St. Louis Blues 3-1 Monday.

"That's the way sometimes the schedule shakes," forward Blake Wheeler told the Jets website Monday. "It's unfortunate with where we are in the season, the importance of this game, our opponents the last two games. You factor all that in, it's unfortunate, but we're not the only team in the League that has to do that. So I don't buy that as being a good excuse."

Team Scope:

Avalanche: Roy said he felt forward Ryan O'Reilly and Paul Stastny each put an injury aside to make sure they would play in their coach's return to Montreal.

Roy was grateful but would like to move on with the schedule, which will continue with a game against the Eastern Conference-leading Boston Bruins on Friday before three days off.

"I'm already very happy to be part of this partnership with the players; I didn't need a special night," Roy said on Altitude Sports. "Yes, I would love to win every game, but [it's] the same level I would like to win tomorrow night in Winnipeg."

Goalie Reto Berra will start; Colorado will give No. 1 Semyon Varlamov another night off after Jean-Sebastien Giguere played against Montreal.

Jets: Forward Eric O'Dell has played more than 15 minutes in each of the past two games after not coming close to that amount in 16 previous games this season. The rookie has played four straight games since being recalled March 12, when he played 2:12.

"It's a big role, I know we're trying to make the [Stanley Cup Playoffs] here, we're trying to make that playoff push," O'Dell said. "I'm just trying to work my hardest and when I'm getting the opportunity, hopefully I can continue to play well."

O'Dell scored Monday playing on a line with Evander Kane and Devin Setoguchi, as he did for much of a 7-2 win at the Dallas Stars on Sunday.

"The first game, we were kind of just trying to feed off of each other, and it looks like we're kind of clicking right now," O'Dell said.

Coach Paul Maurice is pleased.

"Lots of quickness, lots of speed," Maurice said of the 23-year-old. "I thought that [was] really good play, both games. Looks comfortable in that position. I'm really happy with his game."

Who's hot: Avalanche forward Matt Duchene has 18 points in his past 12 games. O'Reilly has 15 points in his past 11. Defenseman Erik Johnson has 10 points in his past nine. Forward Jamie McGinn has six points in a four-game streak. … Jets forward Michael Frolik had a four-game point streak end Monday. Wheeler had four assists against the Stars.

Injury report: Avalanche forward John Mitchell (back) left the game Tuesday in the second period and did not return. Stastny (upper body) returned after missing four games. Forwards PA Parenteau (knee) and Alex Tanguay (hip) are out. … Jets goalie Ondrej Pavelec (lower body), defenseman Dustin Byfuglien (lower body) and forwards Chris Thorburn (foot) and John Albert (upper body) are day-to-day. Forwards Mark Scheifele (knee) and James Wright (ankle) are out indefinitely, and defenseman Grant Clitsome (back) will miss the rest of the season.

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