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Avalanche juggle lines before facing Canadiens

Duchene returns to center as Colorado hopes to spark offense

by Rick Sadowski / Correspondent

CANADIENS (27-26-4) at AVALANCHE (29-26-4) 

TV: 8 p.m. ET; ALT, RDS, SN, NHL.TV 

DENVER -- In an attempt to create more offense, the Colorado Avalanche will use three new line combinations against the Montreal Canadiens on Wednesday at Pepsi Center. 

The Avalanche have scored 28 goals through regulation and overtime in the past 14 games while going 7-for-49 on power plays. They've been held to two goals or fewer nine times in this stretch. 

Coach Patrick Roy is moving Matt Duchene, who had been playing right wing, back to his natural center position to skate with Mikhail Grigorenko and Jarome Iginla. Nathan MacKinnon will center Alex Tanguay and Jack Skille, and John Mitchell will center Cody McLeod and Andreas Martinsen. The line of Gabriel Landeskog, Carl Soderberg and Blake Comeau remains intact. 

"We have to sustain more offense," said Tanguay, who is looking forward to playing with MacKinnon and Skille. "Jack is an extremely fast guy, he takes the puck to the net. He's a big body and plays a strong game, and Nathan is extremely fast. We're going to try and use their speed to our advantage as much as possible. I think Patrick is switching around the lines to try and find combinations that will allow us to create more offense. It's up to us to make it work." 

Tanguay has struggled for much of the season. He has three goals and 17 assists in 47 games, one goal in the past 37 games. 

"I certainly have to contribute more offensively," he said. "I've been through it before. We have 23 games left, plus hopefully playoffs, so there's lots of time to play the hockey I feel I'm capable of playing." 

The Avalanche have gone 2-4-1 in the past seven games while scoring 14 goals, four on power plays. 

"The biggest thing is we want to generate momentum," defenseman Erik Johnson said of the power play. "Our setups and entries have been good, we just haven't scored. Basically you're judged upon whether you score or not, and we haven't finished the deal. You can look as good as you want, pass it around the perimeter and make plays, but you have to score." 

The Canadiens didn't have a morning skate, but they're expected to start goalie Ben Scrivens, who allowed three goals on eight shots Friday when they began a three-game road trip with a 6-4 loss to the Buffalo Sabres. Scrivens won his previous three starts while allowing four goals. 

Goalie Mike Condon permitted six goals on 27 shots Monday in the Canadiens' 6-2 loss to the Arizona Coyotes. 

Montreal has been outscored 34-25 while going 3-6-0 in its past nine games. 

Here are the projected lineups: 


Max Pacioretty - Lars Eller - Sven Andrighetto
Alex Galchenyuk - Tomas Plekanec - Brendan Gallagher
Paul Byron - Jacob De La Rose - Dale Weise
Lucas Lessio - Torrey Mitchell - Devante Smith-Pelly

Andrei Markov - P.K. Subban
Nathan Beaulieu - Tom Gilbert
Alexei Emelin - Greg Pateryn

Ben Scrivens
Mike Condon

Injured: Daniel Carr (knee), David Desharnais (lower body), Brian Flynn (lower body), Jeff Petry (lower body), Carey Price (lower body)

Scratched: Mark Barberio, Tomas Fleischmann


Mikhail Grigorenko - Matt Duchene - Jarome Iginla 
Gabriel Landeskog - Carl Soderberg - Blake Comeau 
Alex Tanguay - Nathan MacKinnon - Jack Skille 
Cody McLeod - John Mitchell - Andreas Martinsen 

Francois Beauchemin - Erik Johnson 
Nick Holden - Tyson Barrie  
Chris Bigras - Andrew Bodnarchuk  

Semyon Varlamov  
Calvin Pickard  

Injured: Reto Berra (ankle), Ben Street (chest), Brad Stuart (back surgery), Jesse Winchester (head)

Scratched: Nate Guenin, Zach Redmond  

Status report: The Canadiens activated Lessio from injured reserve. He missed six games with a lower-body injury. … Berra has resumed practicing with the Avalanche. He was injured Dec. 21 before the Avalanche played the Toronto Maple Leafs. 

Who's hot: Subban has two goals and nine assists in the past nine games. … Gallagher has two goals and one assist in three games. … Galchenyuk has two goals and one assist in three games. … Iginla has two goals and five assists in the past six games. … Grigorenko has an assist in two consecutive games. 

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