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Struggling Avalanche shake up lines

by Rick Sadowski
DENVER -- It's shake-up time for the Colorado Avalanche. Coach Joe Saco has changed all four line combinations for tonight's game against the Dallas Stars at the Pepsi Center, which kicks off a season-long eight-game homestand.

The Avalanche have lost three games in a row to fall two games under .500 (8-10-1), have gone 1-6-1 in the past eight games and have lost six of eight home games this season.

"It's important that we start to establish our strong home record now, and it starts tonight," Sacco said after this morning's optional skate. "It's important that we make up some ground here. But it has to start tonight; we can't look ahead."

Among the Avalanche changes: rookie left wing Gabriel Landeskog will move from center on Ryan O'Reilly’s line to a unit with center Matt Duchene and right wing Milan Hejduk; David Jones will skate at left wing with O'Reilly and right wing Daniel Winnik; and center Paul Stastny will skate with left wing Kevin Porter and right wing Brandon Yip.

Yip was activated from injured reserve and made his season debut Thursday in the Avalanche's 1-0 loss in Minnesota after recovering from a broken right forearm he suffered in training camp. Left wing Peter Mueller, who has missed 16 games to recover from the effects of a concussion that caused him to miss all last season, was placed on IR to make room for Yip.

Goalie Jean-Sebastien Giguere, who stopped 17 shots Thursday, will start back-to-back games for the first time this season.

"(Changes) happen when you go through a little bit of a tough stretch here. You shake things up," Sacco said. "Sometimes it brings excitement to players to play with somebody different. We'll see how it goes."

The Stars have also been in a slump, losing three games in a row while being outscored 14-3 after winning four games in succession.

Dallas will welcome left wing Steve Ott back into the lineup. Ott, who missed six games with a hip injury, will skate on a line with center Jamie Benn and right wing Michael Ryder. To make room for Ott, the Stars placed right wing Adam Burish (hand) on the injured list.

Loui Eriksson will move to right wing on a line with left wing Brenden Morrow and center Mike Ribeiro.

Kari Lehtonen will start in goal. He faced 30 shots on Tuesday in the Stars' 6-0 loss to Florida.
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