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Star forwards sitting as Avalanche host Blackhawks

by Rick Sadowski

DENVER -- The Colorado Avalanche and Chicago Blackhawks will each be without a star forward when they play Tuesday at Pepsi Center.

Avalanche center Matt Duchene will miss his first game because of an oblique injury and Blackhawks right wing Marian Hossa will miss his third straight game because of a lower-body injury.

The encouraging news for the Avalanche is coach Patrick Roy said Tuesday morning that Duchene might be able to play Saturday against the Los Angeles Kings, which would be sooner than expected. He was injured this past Saturday against the Florida Panthers.

Roy said Duchene probably would make the two-game road trip that starts Thursday against the Phoenix Coyotes.

"We'll see," said Roy, who is hopeful Duchene will be able to skate in Phoenix. "Matt would love to play in L.A., but at the same time we're in November. I'm not going to push him. We have to make sure that we do not push him, make sure that when he comes back he's 100 percent. It's too early in the season to gamble and lose him for a longer period. We're going to be very cautious with him."

Duchene leads the Avalanche in scoring with 12 goals and 20 points in 19 games.

Hossa took part in the morning skate Tuesday, but Blackhawks coach Joel Quenneville wants to give him more time to return to full strength.

"It was close the last couple or three games," Quenneville said. "I think we were all waiting to see and we were hopeful he could play [Tuesday]."

Quenneville sounded optimistic Hossa could be available Thursday against the Winnipeg Jets in the second game of the Blackhawks' seven-game, 13-day road trip.

"We'll be thinking that he'd be definitely on the radar," Quenneville said.

Hossa has nine goals and six assists in 19 games.

Here are the projected lineups for the Blackhawks and Avalanche:


Patrick Sharp -- Jonathan Toews -- Kris Versteeg

Brandon Saad -- Brandon Pirri -- Patrick Kane

Bryan Bickell -- Andrew Shaw -- Sheldon Brookbank

Brandon Bollig -- Marcus Kruger -- Ben Smith

Duncan Keith -- Brent Seabrook

Johnny Oduya -- Niklas Hjalmarsson

Nick Leddy -- Michal Rozsival

Corey Crawford

Antti Raanta

Scratched: None.

Injured: Michal Handzus (upper body), Marian Hossa (lower body), Nikolai Khabibulin (undisclosed), Mike Kostka (lower body)


Gabriel Landeskog -- Nathan MacKinnon -- Ryan O'Reilly

Jamie McGinn -- Paul Stastny -- PA Parenteau

Cody McLeod -- John Mitchell -- Maxime Talbot

Brad Malone -- Marc-Andre Cliche -- Patrick Bordeleau

Erik Johnson -- Jan Hejda

Andre Benoit -- Nate Guenin

Nick Holden -- Tyson Barrie

Semyon Varlamov

Jean-Sebastien Giguere

Scratched: Matt Hunwick, Cory Sarich

Injured: Matt Duchene (oblique), Alex Tanguay (knee), Ryan Wilson (back)

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