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Avalanche's Duchene out vs. Flames

Colorado leading scorer day-to-day because of knee injury

by Aaron Vickers / Correspondent

AVALANCHE (36-31-4) at FLAMES (30-35-5)

TV: 9 p.m. ET; ALT, SNF, NHL.TV

CALGARY -- The Colorado Avalanche will be without leading scorer Matt Duchene when they play the Calgary Flames at Scotiabank Saddledome on Friday.

Duchene sustained a knee injury during the Avalanche's 3-1 win at the Vancouver Canucks on Wednesday.

"[Duchene] is going to be day-to-day," Colorado coach Patrick Roy said. "We hope that he'll recover pretty fast and be ready to play soon for us. It'll be a day-to-day situation for him."

He leads the Avalanche with 29 goals and 56 points.

Colorado is one point ahead of the Minnesota Wild for the second wild card into the playoffs from the Western Conference.

Duchene's injury comes with captain Gabriel Landeskog serving the final game of a three-game suspension for cross-checking Anaheim Ducks defenseman Simon Despres on March 9.

Colorado will dress 11 forwards and seven defensemen against Calgary.

"There's no question [Duchene] has been great for us this season and a big leader on our team, and having [Landeskog] out, it's the same thing you hear all the time … guys have to step up," Avalanche forward Jarome Iginla said. "Those are two big guys on our team and play important minutes and contribute in every area of the game. For us it's just about winning one game. It's just about tonight against the Flames. However long [Duchene is out], we've just got to focus on no excuses. We just push."

Having a chance to add to their lead with the Wild not playing Friday is what's important.

"We're excited about it," Iginla said. "It's good to be in this position. To give ourselves a chance, we have that. We don't have to watch other people, worry about three-point games trying to catch people. It's nice to be in this position where we know Minnesota is right there and other teams are trying to climb, but we can focus on ourselves and try to string some together and push for that playoff spot."

The Flames have won two straight and are 3-1-1 during their current six-game homestand.

"From our point of view, we just make sure we're ready to play," Iginla said. "We're not taking anybody lightly. We're focused. No matter who we play we focus on what we're doing. We want to make sure we're skating, we're aggressive, we're forechecking. What the other team does, hopefully they have to adjust to us as opposed to watching them or just playing nonchalant. We know the importance. It's fun. It's fun to be in this. But it would be even more fun to be playing in a month and we want to go earn that."

The Flames will get a boost from returning defenseman TJ Brodie, who missed three games because of an upper-body injury.

"I feel good," Brodie said. "It's one of those things that's hard to tell until you get into a game how it's going to be. But as far as right now it feels good.

Brodie is fourth on the Flames with 40 points in 58 games, and leads the Flames in average ice time per game at 25:42.

"We know what TJ brings to our team … poise on the blue line, great puck control, great first pass, jumps in the play," Calgary coach Bob Hartley said. "He's one of our top [defensemen] for a reason. He can log lots of ice time. Defensively very strong. It's great to have him back."

Here are the projected lineups:


Mikhail Grigorenko - John Mitchell - Jarome Iginla

Mikkel Boedker - Nathan MacKinnon - Blake Comeau

Shawn Matthias - Carl Soderberg - Andreas Martinsen

Cody McLeod - Jack Skille

Francois Beauchemin - Erik Johnson

Nick Holden - Tyson Barrie

Eric Gelinas - Chris Bigras

Andrew Bodnarchuk

Semyon Varlamov

Calvin Pickard

Injured: Matt Duchene (knee), Brad Stuart (back surgery), Jesse Winchester (head)

Scratched: Zach Redmond

Suspended: Gabriel Landeskog


Johnny Gaudreau - Sean Monahan - Micheal Ferland

Joe Colborne - Mikael Backlund - Michael Frolik

Lance Bouma - Freddie Hamilton - Garnet Hathaway

Brandon Bollig - Matt Stajan - Josh Jooris

Mark Giordano - Deryk Engelland

TJ Brodie - Dougie Hamilton

Jyrki Jokipakka - Jakub Nakladal

Joni Ortio

Niklas Backstrom

Injured: Karri Ramo (torn ACL), Ladislav Smid (upper body), Sam Bennett (upper body), Dennis Wideman (upper body)

Scratched: Jonas Hiller

Status update: Bigras will return to the lineup after missing four games because of a concussion. … Wideman was injured in the first period Wednesday against the Winnipeg Jets. … Ortio will make his seventh consecutive start. Backstrom, acquired Feb. 29 in a trade with the Minnesota Wild, will dress for the first time as a member of the Flames. He will backup Ortio Friday and start at the Montreal Canadiens on Sunday.

Who's hot: Varlamov has allowed five goals in his past four starts. … Frolik has four goals and three assists during a three-game point streak. … Backlund has two goals and five points during a four-game point streak.

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