Avalanche

Kiszla: While the Avs have a bad case of the blues, the Denver Pioneers rule this hockey town
As Paul Stastny glided across the ice of his old stomping grounds in Denver, and flicked a beauty of a wrist shot that beat the Avalanche’s Jonathan Bernier at the far post for a goal, the lamp was lit so brightly the truth was plain to see. Denver is a great hockey town. Always has been. Always will be. But hockey greatness in this town is defined by the Pioneers, not the Avs. Same as it ever was. The Pioneers, defending national champions, are the diamond-and-gold standard in college hockey. They have the rings to prove it. “I was fired up when I saw those rings. I almost wanted to pull mine out. I don’t know where mine is,” said Stastny, who won it all with DU back in 2005. Raise the banner high! The DU Pioneers celebrate the eighth national championship in their storied program’s history when they take the ice Friday night for the home-opener against Lake Superior State. The Avs, who teased us by jumping out to a 4-1 record in the young NHL season, fell back into their same-old, same-old bad habits, losing 4-3 Thursday to a St. Louis team playing on back-to-back nights. It was the third consecutive loss for Colorado, and about the loudest noise all evening was at the conclusion of the national anthem, when the crowd shouted, “Home of the … Blues!” To fully remember when the Avalanche looked like an NHL dynasty in the making, you have to be of legal drinking age. So let’s raise a toast to the way Peter Forsberg and the Avs were back at the turn of the century. But if you want to see a dynasty in the making, grab a seat at Magness Arena on the DU campus. It’s the best bargain in Colorado sports. The Pios took the trophy home from the Frozen Four in the spring, beating Minnesota-Duluth 3-2 in the final. And coach Jim Montgomery’s squad is just getting warmed up. DU is ranked No. 1. The Pioneers return Henrik Borgstrom, Troy Terry, Tanner Jaillet, Dylan Gambrell, heart-and-soul players on the national championship team. Stastny scored the 600th point of his professional career off a 2-on-1 breakaway ignited by a careless Colorado turnover in the attacking third. “It was nice,” Stastny. “It’s kind of unique and special to get it here, where home base is for me. In front of family and friends, it’s always fun.” How did Stastny get to be 31 years old? It seemed like only yesterday when he was wearing a DU sweater for the Pioneers. After playing eight seasons for the Avalanche, the beginning of this extended period of agony for pro hockey in Colorado began in 2014, when Stastny departed Denver for St. Louis in free agency. Here’s the best we can say about the Avalanche: The worst appears to be over. After finishing last in the league with some of the most abominable hockey played by any NHL team in the 21st century, Colorado has an infusion of youthful enthusiasm. At age 19, rookie Tyson Jost played wing on the No. 1 line against the Blues. Alexander Kerfoot, a 23-year-old forward out of Harvard, got the Avs on the board in the first period on juicy rebound that he put in the back of the net with an aggressive move to the crease. Kerfoot pounced on a mistake by St. Louis goalie Carter Hutton late in the third period to pull Colorado within one score. It’s been a long, rough stretch for the Avalanche. But the tradition of hockey greatness is healthy and strong in Denver. It depends on where you look. Related Articles Kickin’ it with Kiz: Would the Patriots ever dump Tom Brady? Well, the Colts did cut Peyton Manning. Lunch Special: Denver sports chat with Mark Kiszla Kiszla: Here’s the first real test of Vance Joseph’s mettle as head coach of the Broncos Kiszla: Is it fair to expect 47 wins from Nuggets, or turn up heat on Michael Malone if they don’t? Kiszla: The Broncos’ No. 1 problem is No. 13. Trevor Siemian is not the answer at quarterback. The Pioneers built this hockey town. And they rule it. One more thing: Did Stastny really lose his DU national championship ring? No. He was just kidding about misplacing one of the prized treasures of his hockey career. The ring is in safe keeping, at his house in St. Louis. “I’ve got it,” Stastny said. “Don’t worry.” [...]
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J.T. Compher breaks his hand. Two other Avalanche players injured. And another is in the doghouse.
J.T. Compher, the Avalanche’s third-line right wing, broke his right thumb Thursday in his team’s 4-3 loss to the St. Louis Blues and will remain out indefinitely, his coach said. “He’s going to miss some time,” Bednar said. Compher was not the only missing Avs player. Colorado, who nearly rallied to tie the Blues late in the third period, finished shorthanded. Rookie winger Tyson Jost and defenseman Patrik Nemeth suffered lower body injuries, Bednar said. Their outlooks are not clear. And Bednar yanked veteran winger Nail Yakupov after the second period for poor play. “We had a couple guys who didn’t show up to play. Can’t do it,” Bednar said. He would only point to Yakupov. “He’s one of them.” Compher assisted Alexander Kerfoot on a first period goal as the Avs jumped to full pressure on the Blues. Mikko Rantanen from beside St. Louis’ net, twice set up Compher for slap shots on the game’s first power play. One shot that was blocked by Blues goalie Carter Hutton fell to Kerfoot for a rebound goal. Compher has a goal and three assists this season. But the Avs lost a third game in a row. “It’s hard right now,” Bednar said. “We really wanted to win that one to break the slide, especially in front of our home fans. Guys laid their hearts on the line. I think we deserved better tonight.” [...]
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An Avalanche rally ended in shrugs Thursday night. Did the NHL screw up the ending?
A lively Avalanche rally late in the third period Thursday night against the St. Louis Blues ended in shrugs after a video review overturned a would-be game-tying goal with less than three minutes remaining. Confusion set in on all sides. On Friday, the NHL admitted a blunder. “The goal should have counted,” the NHL said in a statement. Mikko Rantanen’s open-net goal seemed to tie the game at 4-4, but St. Louis coach Mike Yeo challenged the result, claiming the sequence only unfolded from an offside position. The Avs’ goal should not be allowed, Yeo claimed. After a long review, the referee and linesmen agreed. The goal, at first called good, was overturned and the Blues won 4-3 at the Pepsi Center. To be clear, Avs’ forward Sven Andrighetto was offside before he keyed a rush from the left side. The puck cleared St. Louis’ zone and he did not recover outside the blue line before the puck reached his stick. Even Colorado coach Jared Bednar seemed to acknowledge the offside. “Our guys thought there was a chance he was offsides,” he said. Bad news about Compher and Jost, and Coach Bednar talks about blown offside call #Avs pic.twitter.com/dN6SdRiyJ8 — Mike Chambers (@MikeChambers) October 20, 2017 But here is where the confusion set in. Video showed that Andrighetto was clearly offsides. But in the moment, the linesmen missed the call. And when the puck cleared the zone, it essentially reset the sequence. NHL video review rules allow a challenge on the same sequence, the same zone entry. Once the puck left the zone, it should have kept Yeo from challenging. The mistake was in allowing a challenge. Even though Andrighetto was offside, the video challenge should not have been allowed. And the goal should have stood. Related Articles Avalanche loses J.T. Compher and Tyson Jost to significant injuries Kiszla: While the Avs have a bad case of the blues, the Denver Pioneers rule this hockey town Paul Stastny reaches 600 vs. his former team as Avalanche struggle to find footing in loss to Blues Avalanche is trying to halt losing skids that scuttled them last year. Nail Yakupov knows how. Avalanche may juggle a top line to key Nathan MacKinnon. “I don’t think they’ve been dangerous enough,” Bednar says. The rulebook in this case, unfortunately, is not exactly clear. And in the moment, St. Louis defenders seemed to stop skating, thinking an offsides call was obvious. The NHL said in its statement: “St. Louis requested a Coach’s Challenge to determine whether Sven Andrighetto of Colorado was off-side prior to the Avalanche goal. The video review decision determined the play was off-side but that determination was based on a play prior to the puck clearing the zone. “Per Rule 78. 7 (Note 1) Coach’s Challenge: ‘Goals will only be reviewed for a potential “Off-Side” infraction if: a) the puck does not come out of the attacking zone again; or (b) all members of the attacking team do not clear the attacking zone again, between the time of the “Off-Side” play and the time the goal is scored. “Although there was an off-side, it occurred prior to the puck clearing the zone which nullifies any goal review related to that off-side. The entry in to the zone immediately prior to the goal was on-side, therefore the goal should have counted.” Yeo had already used a coach’s video challenge, on an Avs goal from Blake Comeau early in the third that was allowed. Comeau charged down the ice and seemed to push Blues defender Robert Bortuzzo into goaltender Carter Hutton. St. Louis claimed goalie interference. The Blues were overruled. Alexander Kerfoot’s goal with less than five minutes remaining drew the Avs to within 4-3. Perhaps to his credit, Bednar on Thursday night was more concerned with how his team should have won the game outright, specifically calling out at least one player by name — Nail Yakupov — for poor effort. [...]
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Avalanche loses J.T. Compher and Tyson Jost to significant injuries
Young Avalanche forwards J.T. Compher and Tyson Jost will miss extensive time with a broken thumb and lower-body injury, respectively, coach Jared Bednar said Friday. Compher, 22, is out indefinitely and Jost, 19, will miss 2-3 weeks. Both were injured in Thursday’s 4-3 loss to the visiting St. Louis Blues. The Avs will call up a forward or two from San Antonio of the American Hockey League over the weekend but Bednar wants to scout Rampage games Friday and Saturday before choosing the player(s). “We’re going to watch what happens there tonight and tomorrow and then make an educated decision and probably get some guys up for Sunday (practice),” Bednar said after an optional practice Friday. Defenseman Patrik Nemeth, who also left Thursday’s game with an injury, is day-to-day but probably won’t miss the next game. The Avs (4-4) don’t play again until Tuesday against the visiting Dallas Stars. They will take Saturday off and resume practice Sunday. Related Articles An Avalanche rally ended in shrugs Thursday night. Did the NHL screw up the ending? Kiszla: While the Avs have a bad case of the blues, the Denver Pioneers rule this hockey town Paul Stastny reaches 600 vs. his former team as Avalanche struggle to find footing in loss to Blues Avalanche is trying to halt losing skids that scuttled them last year. Nail Yakupov knows how. Avalanche may juggle a top line to key Nathan MacKinnon. “I don’t think they’ve been dangerous enough,” Bednar says. Only eight skaters and two goalies participated in Friday’s light practice. First-year Avs forward Nail Yakupov, who was benched by Bednar in Thursday’s game for insufficient effort, declined to speak to reporters about the benching Friday. [...]
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Avalanche may juggle a top line to key Nathan MacKinnon. “I don’t think they’ve been dangerous enough,” Bednar says.
Jared Bednar put his lines into a blender and whipped up some squiggles. His Avalanche offense grew stale Tuesday at Nashville and Colorado’s coach wanted a spark, especially with his No. 1 pairings. A top line was flying up and down the ice with little to show for it. “I don’t think they’ve been dangerous enough for us,” Bednar said. So he topped a teenager, sending 19-year-old Tyson Jost to the first line alongside star center Nathan MacKinnon. In an early-season shakeup, seven games in but on a two-game losing skid, Bednar is hoping to mix together a new look, tying together a skilled goal-scorer in MacKinnon and a nettlesome rookie in Jost. Seth McConnell, The Denver PostNathan MacKinnon (29) of the Colorado Avalanche keeps his eye on the puck as he juggles it with his stick during pregame warmups at the Pepsi Center on Jan. 4, 2016 in Denver. “We need a little bit of a change on Mac’s line. And (Jost) is a guy who can provide a spark there,” Bednar said Wednesday after a swift off-day practice in Centennial. “They’ve enjoyed playing together.” The change was spurred in part by what Bednar noticed across the ice. In a 4-1 blowout loss Tuesday, the Predators’ top line of Ryan Johansen, Filip Forsberg and Viktor Arvidsson hassled Colorado from the jump, collectively sending 12 shots on goal. The Avs’ top line of MacKinnon, Sven Andrighetto and Mikko Rantanen managed just four. Sure enough, Arvidsson’s second-period tally, on an assist from Forsberg, keyed a three-goal barrage in the second period that buried the Avalanche. “I hold them to a higher standard,” Bednar said of his top line. “Look at the Johansen-Forsberg-Arvidsson line. They’re dangerous every shift. Our line needs more consistency. No excuses, but if we can make a change on that line and provide a spark, we’ll do that. I want more consistency, more chemistry out of that line.” The shuffle, which Bednar experimented with late in Tuesday’s loss, coincides with MacKinnon finally finding the net. The fifth-year center, just 22, scored his first goal of the season Tuesday, a seeing-eye wrister that wriggled through traffic in the second period. But it was power-play goal and MacKinnon said Wednesday he is seeking more opportunities to attack the net at even strength. MacKinnon, Colorado’s runaway points leader last season with 16 goals and 37 assists, said he has noticed a lack of even-strength production, owed in part to a team full of new faces still finding their footing early in a new season. “The lines haven’t been creating a ton of chances. There’s not really any flow 5-on-5,” MacKinnon said. “I want to shoot more. I just haven’t been getting it as much in the neutral zone and it’s affecting my shots per game. I need to be more aggressive. It will come.” Related Articles Avalanche takes lead, then takes a break and loses at Nashville Why Andrei Mironov is a healthy scratch for the Avalanche rather than playing in the AHL NHL Live 18 season simulation: How the Colorado Avalanche fared Avalanche’s Erik Johnson logging big minutes with considerable NHL success Avalanche centers Nathan MacKinnon and Tyson Jost able to avoid serious injuries Jost adds an element of aggression. He dives into “dirty areas,” MacKinnon said, to win back pucks and grind out second chances. But he is speedy enough and skilled enough, even at 19, to keep pace. “I like to play a fast game, an up-tempo game. And Josty is obviously a very fast player,” MacKinnon said. “We want to push the tempo. That’s the kind of team we are. It’s better than playing slow, that’s for sure.” The Avs’ 20 goals this season rank ninth in the NHL, but they are 25th in shots, averaging 30 per game. Bednar’s line juggling is an attempt at harmony, looking for a combination that can maximize its time on ice for a team still in second gear. “There’s an element we need: more of a shot mentality,” Bednar said. “Speed is one of their best weapons. That’s what makes them dangerous. Getting some more extended zone time, offensively, is a goal I’m trying to get after here. Instead of just the rushing attack, what comes next? Creating secondary offensive chances. Sometimes, that’s hounding pucks, protecting pucks, moving to the right spot early enough on the ice.” Mike Ehrmann, Getty ImagesPaul Stastny (26) of the St. Louis Blues and Vincent Trocheck (21) of the Florida Panthers fight for the puck during a game at BB&T Center on Oct. 12, 2017 in Sunrise, Fla. Spotlight on Paul Stastny, St. Louis Blues center There is some growing consternation in St. Louis about a faltering f [...]
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“Young Mario”: Auston Matthews continues to reinvent ways to score
WASHINGTON — Auston Matthews is drawing comparisons to Mario Lemieux and getting noticed by Bryce Harper amid a hot start to his second NHL season. Last season’s Calder Trophy winner as rookie of the year, Matthews went into training camp seeking to be more assertive on the ice. That has translated to five goals and three assists in his first five games and the kind of improved all-around play that makes the face of the Toronto Maple Leafs a superstar already at age 20. “He’s got a skillset that ranges from just about everything,” Maple Leafs center Nazem Kadri said Tuesday. “The ceiling’s the limit for Matts, and he knows he can be a great player and he already is. It’s crazy to think he’s (still) at such a young age.” Even though Matthews remains in the shadow of Connor McDavid and Sidney Crosby on hockey’s pantheon of top players, he already has filled up the highlight reel thanks to some tweaks and adjustments. The Scottsdale, Arizona, native was the first rookie to score 40 goals since Alex Ovechkin in 2005-06 and is conscious of the pressure to keep up that pace. “You’re always reinventing yourself,” Matthews said. “The league’s always adjusting and you’ve got to adjust right back to it.” The league hasn’t adjusted yet. Matthews showed that by scoring goals so many different ways this season. Matthews scored an overtime winner against Chicago by taking the puck off a carom off the back of Patrick Kane’s right skate and going down the ice. Against Montreal, he scored one goal by flipping the puck past a Canadiens defender and knocking it down at full speed before firing through a screen, and then another on the rush by shooting short side on 2015 Vezina Trophy winning goaltender Carey Price. “For me, the first (Montreal goal) was probably a little more impressive just how he handled the pass and you see how much he changed the angle,” Toronto winger James van Riemsdyk said. “He’s really good at changing the angle, getting it off quick, things like that. He’s got a lot of different shots that he’ll try within his toolbox. It makes him pretty unpredictable when he’s going to shoot it.” Matthews has only played 87 regular-season and six playoff games and yet has admirers far and wide. Harper wore a brand new blue No. 34 Matthews jersey out of the Washington Nationals’ clubhouse after their season-ending Game 5 loss to the Chicago Cubs last week. Matthews said he doesn’t know Harper, who’s from Las Vegas, but called the honor “awesome.” Capitals coach Barry Trotz has been watching Matthews’ growth and likened him — already — to a Hockey Hall of Famer and one of the best players in history. “Auston Matthews, I’ve been saying it: He’s a young Mario Lemieux,” Trotz said. “He’s (big), he can skate, he’s ultra-skilled, he’s very, very competitive, he makes plays.” Matthews’ rookie success earned him another believer: himself. He said last month he was aiming to trust his skills more and want the puck more. With the season under way he said “you just want to be the best player you can be,” and that’s evident with how much the line of Matthews, Zach Hyman and William Nylander have had the puck. “We’ve been able to create offense, which is important, and that leads to chances,” Nylander said. “That’s always a positive.” At even strength, Matthews has been on the ice for 80 Leafs shots and 64 by opponents, evidence of just how much his evolving defensive game benefits the Maple Leafs. “When you play well defensively, you feel like you get the puck more,” Matthews said. “We’re offensive guys. We want to create offense so when you have the puck it feels good and you feel like you can create chances.” Related Articles Avalanche centers Nathan MacKinnon and Tyson Jost able to avoid serious injuries Avalanche, Stars off to unexpected starts this season Brian Boyle is not alone in fighting cancer and playing hockey Vegas Golden Knights have emotional, inspired home debut 9 days after mass shooting Stanley Cup champion Pittsburgh Penguins visit Trump at White House Those chances are coming, and Matthews is cashing in on them. No wonder he has earned coach Mike Babcock’s trust. “He’s a good player trying to get better each and every day,” Babcock said. “What I like about him is how hard he works and how competitive he is and how much he wants to get better. The best players in the league, the superstars, they love hockey more than everyone else, so they can work at it harder and longer than the next guy.” [...]
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Avalanche takes lead, then takes a break and loses at Nashville
NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Nathan MacKinnon finally scored his first goal of the season, getting a lucky bounce off a Nashville Predators defender to give the Avalanche the early lead Tuesday at Bridgestone Arena. It was the kind of bounce MacKinnon said would get him going in the goal-scoring department. But it was all downhill from there for the Avs, who lost their composure and fell 4-1 to the defending Western Conference champions. John Russell, NHLI via Getty ImagesColton Sissons #10 of the Nashville Predators scores against Semyon Varlamov #1 of the Colorado Avalanche during an NHL game at Bridgestone Arena on Oct. 17, 2017 in Nashville, Tenn. “Just bad reads. That’s on everybody. I think every time we have bad puck management it leads to losses,” MacKinnon said. “When we exit and enter our zone cleanly, we’re definitely a very good team because we’re fast. Tonight was really salty.” The Avs, who finished 0-2 in the Central Division road trip that began with a 4-1 loss Saturday at Dallas, gave up multiple odd-man rushes after MacKinnon scored the game’s first goal on the power play 4:09 into the second period. The Preds tied it by creating a 4-on-1 rush in transition and ultimately scoring during a 4-on-2 advantage, with Viktor Arvidsson capping a nice play by Filip Forsberg at 7:07. And then Nashville made Colorado pay by taking two lackadaisical penalties — Matt Duchene‘s delay of game (he flipped the puck in the stands from the defensive zone) and Gabe Landeskog‘s slashing (stick to the hands of Ryan Johansen) while on the penalty kill. The result: Roman Josi’s 5-on-3 power-play goal at 13:30. Related Articles Why Andrei Mironov is a healthy scratch for the Avalanche rather than playing in the AHL NHL Live 18 season simulation: How the Colorado Avalanche fared Avalanche’s Erik Johnson logging big minutes with considerable NHL success Avalanche centers Nathan MacKinnon and Tyson Jost able to avoid serious injuries Lunch Special: Is there a big difference in Avalanche coach Jared Bednar this year? “I didn’t mind our start. I thought our first period was OK,” Avs coach Jared Bednar said. “And then I just felt like we had questionable decisions in (giving up) a couple odd-man rushes. Their second goal was a 4-on-1. We get caught gambling on a puck in the offensive zone and it comes back to hurt us. And then we took penalties and put ourselves behind the 8-ball a little bit.” Things got worse after the Preds’ 5-on-3 goal. In a 4-on-4 situation, the Avs became a mess defensively and Colton Sissons scored easily from the doorstep with 45 seconds left in the dreadful second period. Both Arvidsson and Sissons scored from goalie Semyon Varlamov‘s doorstep. Varlamov allowed another close-in goal early in the third period by Austin Watson and the rout was on. The Avs, who stand 4-3 after a 4-1 start, host the St. Louis Blues in another Central Division clash Thursday at the Pepsi Center. Colorado is off to a 0-2 start in division play. “We just have to refocus our group here and get ready to go two days from now against St. Louis, another tough Central Division team. It doesn’t get any easier,” Bednar said. “There’s another level some of our guys need to get to from a competitive standpoint.” He added: “First five games, I think it was good. We were a hard-working group, really competitive in those first five games and I feel like it’s kind of slacked off a little bit here in the last couple. So we have to find a way to rebound.” The Avs fell Saturday at Dallas after improving to 4-1 by defeating Anaheim on Thursday. They had plenty of time to prepare for Nashville, arriving in Music City early Sunday morning and taking that day off. They practiced Monday at Bridgestone Arena. “We knew it was tough going into Dallas, getting in at 3:30 a.m. (but) tonight just wasn’t good enough,” Landeskog said. “We’ll regroup and get back at it on home ice.” [...]
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Why Andrei Mironov is a healthy scratch for the Avalanche rather than playing in the AHL
NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Avalanche rookie defenseman Andrei Mironov hasn’t played since opening night, when he logged 11 minutes, 24 seconds in a shaky NHL debut at the New York Rangers. The 23-year-old Russian will be a healthy scratch for the sixth consecutive game Tuesday when Colorado takes on the Nashville Predators at Bridgestone Arena. So why is Mironov still with the Avs, instead of developing for their American Hockey League affiliate in San Antonio? With the Avs, Mironov is surrounded by three fellow Russians in forward Nail Yakupov, defenseman Nikita Zadorov and goalie Semyon Varlamov. They help him understand how to play on the NHL-size rink — particularly Zadorov, who plays the same position. Mironov, who played the last five seasons in the Russia-based Kontinental Hockey League, speaks very little English. Related Articles NHL Live 18 season simulation: How the Colorado Avalanche fared Avalanche’s Erik Johnson logging big minutes with considerable NHL success Avalanche centers Nathan MacKinnon and Tyson Jost able to avoid serious injuries Lunch Special: Is there a big difference in Avalanche coach Jared Bednar this year? Avalanche loses at Dallas 3-1 “With ‘Miro’ he’s in a little bit of a unique situation because he’s coming over to North America for the first time, he’s playing on the smaller ice for the first time. So I think he continues to get better every day, even in practice,” Avs coach Jared Bednar said Tuesday after a morning skate at Bridgestone Arena. “But we certainly want to have him playing some games here, too, so we may explore some options to get him in. There’s different things you could do. We could play seven (defensemen). He has the availability (waiver-exempt) to go to the minors and play. We’ll see. We’re going to need all these guys when it’s all said and done so we want to keep them all going and try to keep improving every day as individuals and as a group.” The AHL Rampage only has one Russian on its team in rookie forward Klim Kostin, who is property of St. Louis Blues. But Kostin also is in his first year in North America. So the Avs believe Mironov is learning more with a deep support group with Colorado. “We talked to Varly about how much Miro is understanding and I think every day he’s understanding more and more what we’re saying,” Bednar said. “He’s got the translators there to ask questions, too, in his teammates. He’s got guys around him that know what he’s going through. And Z (Zadorov) is a similar guy that plays a similar style.” Footnotes. Rookie defenseman Anton Lindholm will replace Patrik Nemeth (shoulder injury) and partner with Tyson Barrie on the second pairing. Lindholm has been a healthy scratch in the last three games. Zadorov remains on the top pairing with Erik Johnson, and Chris Bigras and Mark Barberio make up the third pairing. … Forward Matt Nieto will be a healthy scratch for the fourth time this season. Center Tyson Jost, who missed the last two games with a leg-bone bruise, returns to the lineup and will play on the fourth line. [...]
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Avalanche rookie Tyson Jost out 1-2 games with bone bruise
The Avalanche’s youngest player, 19-year-old center Tyson Jost, missed Friday’s game against the Anaheim Ducks with a bone bruise. Jost injured his left knee in the second period of Wednesday’s 6-3 win over the Boston Bruins, a game he returned to in the third period and Colorado’s sixth goal in an empty-net situation. Jost didn’t practice Thursday and coach Jared Bednar said he is day-to-day with a bone bruise. Bednar suspects Jost won’t play Saturday night at Dallas but will return to the lineup Tuesday at Nashville. The Avs will have Sunday off before practicing Monday in Music City. “We’ll get him back on the ice Monday to test it and participate in practice and try to get ready for Tuesday,” Bednar said after Friday’s morning skate at the Pepsi Center. Matt Nieto replaced Jost in the 12-man forward corps, but Colin Wilson moved up from the fourth line to replace Jost on the line with Gabe Landeskog and J.T. Compher. Nieto hasn’t played since opening night. Related Articles Lunch Special: Colorado Avalanche chat with Mike Chambers Avalanche loses at Dallas 3-1 Chambers: Anaheim saw in Francois Beauchemin what the Avalanche could not Avalanche, Stars off to unexpected starts this season Avalanche dominates, but wins a tight one over Anaheim Lineup. Colorado’s top two lines remained the same: Nathan MacKinnon centered Sven Andrighetto and Mikko Rantanen, and Matt Duchene was between Nail Yakupov and Alex Kerfoot. The Avs again made rookie defensemen Anton Lindholm and Andrei Mironov healthy scratches, using the same defensive pairings as Wednesday. Evacuation. Ducks defenseman Francois Beauchemin and his family were evacuated from their Anaheim-area home Monday because of the southern California wildfires. Beauchemin, who played the last two seasons for the Avalanche before being bought out by the team in June, is one of many Ducks players/staff who spent a part of their season-opening, four-game homestand in hotels. Footnotes. Anaheim forward Andrew Cogliano appeared in his 791st consecutive game Friday, the longest iron man streak since Steve Larmer played in 884 consecutive ending in 1993. … The Ducks had four former Avs in the lineup Friday in forward Chris Wagner, Beauchemin and backup goalie Reto Berra. … The Ducks entered Friday 0-of-15 on the power play. The Avs were only only slightly better (2-of-17). … Colorado was last in the league in penalty killing at 66.7 percent (12-of-18). Anaheim was 18-of-22 on the PK after going 3-of-4 against the Avs in the first period. … The Avs have allowed just two goals at 5-on-5. The seven other goals-against have come on special teams. COLORADO AT DALLAS, 6 p.m. Saturday, ALT, 950 AM Spotlight on: John Klingberg. The Stars defenseman has points in four consecutive games to start the season and leads the team with five (two goals). Dallas has scored a power-play goal in each game this season and Klingberg has five points (goal, four points) when the team has struck with the man-advantage. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Klingberg is the first Stars blue-liner to record points in his first four games of a season since Philippe Boucher in 2005-06. [...]
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Avalanche, Stars off to unexpected starts this season
DALLAS — A team sitting at 1-3-0 will take on a 4-1-0 team Saturday at the American Airlines Center, which is pretty much how many hockey pundits had it before the season started. They just didn’t know it would be the Dallas Stars looking for their second win of the season and the Avalanche looking to notch its fourth consecutive win to stay atop the Central Division. The Avs have eight points through five games, tied with the Blues (who just lost their first game of the season) for most in the division. It’s their best start to a season through five games since the 2013-14 season when they started 5-0-0. Colorado won the division that year before falling to the Minnesota Wild in a classic seven-game first-round series. On the other hand, the Stars are in the cellar of the Central Division at 1-3-0. After having an offseason that had expectations sky-high, the team has failed to put things together as they continue to figure things out under coach Ken Hitchcock. The Avs will want to start fast right out the gate because the Stars’ lone win came when they went up 2-0 in the opening period against the Red Wings. They haven’t responded well to being hit first, something captain Jamie Benn acknowledged after Thursday’s loss to the Predators. “When the other team gets a goal or get momentum, we have to respond as a group,” Benn said. “They started to bring the pressure, and we just let them take it to us.” Related Articles Lunch Special: Colorado Avalanche chat with Mike Chambers Avalanche loses at Dallas 3-1 Chambers: Anaheim saw in Francois Beauchemin what the Avalanche could not Avalanche dominates, but wins a tight one over Anaheim Avalanche rookie Tyson Jost out 1-2 games with bone bruise The Avs are 2-0-0 when leading after the first period and 4-0-0 when leading after the second this season. Juggling act. Hitchcock is going to try a new combination on defense, pairing Marc Methot with John Klingberg. Esa Lindell has played the first four games with Klingberg while Methot has played with a combination of Jamie Oleksiak and Stephen Johns. Hitchcock also moved Mattias Janmark onto a line with Jason Spezza and Brett Richie while Remi Elie moved with Martin Hanzal and Devin Shore. Footnotes. On the injury front, the Avalanche will be without rookie Tyson Jost (bone bruise) but are likely to have the services of Nathan MacKinnon, despite the center taking a stick to the eye area in Friday night’s win over Anaheim. … Patrik Nemeth spent the previous four seasons with the Stars. He was claimed off of waivers by Colorado 11 days ago and will be playing his first game at the AAC as the opposition. [...]
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Chambers: Anaheim saw in Beuachemin what the Avalanche could not
Anaheim Ducks defenseman Francois Beauchemin was awoken midway through his pregame nap Monday by his wife, Marie Claude. It must have been serious. And it was. Pregame naps are as important to an NHL player as pregame warm-ups, but Marie Claude had reason to disturb her husband: Law enforcement officials were demanding the family evacuate their Anaheim-area home because of the Southern California wildfires. The smoke storm was quickly approaching. Beauchemin, the former Avalanche defenseman surprisingly bought out by the club in June, had a lot on his plate at the time. He had a game that night at the Honda Center against the Calgary Flames. His parents were in town from Montreal. His two children were frightened. And he was trying to settle the family into a new house while trying to sell the Greenwood Village home his family lived in the last two years. “We got everybody out, got in a hotel and I had a game Monday night,” Beauchemin said Friday from the Pepsi Center, following a morning skate on game day against the Avalanche. “It was the start of a very stressful week.” The Beauchemins were allowed to return to their home Tuesday night. The scare was just that, with fire fighters saving the home and others in the neighborhood. Francois flew to Colorado with the Ducks on Thursday and drove to look in on the selling of his Greenwood Village property. Beauchemin, now in his third stint with the Ducks, signed with Colorado as a free agent from Anaheim in 2015. His buyout didn’t add up, because of the financial consequences for Colorado and because he has always been a player you want on your team. The Avs are paying him $1.5 million to play against them this season, and another $1.5 million next season when Beauchemin moves to the family farm in Quebec. After Friday’s morning skate, Beauchemin reflected on his whirlwind summer that began with a phone call from Avalanche general manager Joe Sakic in June. Sakic told Beauchemin the team would buy out the final year of his three-year contract that paid him $4.5 million annually. At age 37, Beauchemin figured he was done playing in the NHL, because he wasn’t interested in moving his family again. Related Articles Avalanche loses at Dallas 3-1 Avalanche, Stars off to unexpected starts this season Avalanche dominates, but wins a tight one over Anaheim Avalanche rookie Tyson Jost out 1-2 games with bone bruise Nathan MacKinnon doing everything but scoring goals for Avalanche “It’s a big deal when you play all your life and then you find you’re not playing anymore, and you don’t expect it,” Beauchemin said. “I had some calls from different teams in July and that’s always fun to hear but I wasn’t interested in moving my family around. So I made up my mind I wasn’t going to play (in the NHL) but maybe go with Team Canada for some tournaments and maybe play in the Olympics — until I got the call on Aug. 17.” The call was from Anaheim GM Bob Murray, who wanted Beauchemin to return to the organization in which he played nine of his 12 NHL seasons. Murray wanted Beauchemin to be the veteran leader that he is and the player/coach for his young defensemen. Anyone who knows Beauchemin knows the guy doesn’t own an ego. He realizes he is no longer a top-pairing defenseman, or even a top-four on a good team. But he’s perhaps an ideal third-pairing guy because of his leadership and character. The summer was stressful, and the Avs lost a player they could use. But in the end, it all worked out for Beauchemin and his family. “Whenever you play against your old team, it’s a little weird, but honestly, when I went back to Anaheim, two years went by and it was like I never left,” he said. “We got lucky to find a house in the same neighborhood, the kids were back in the same schools with the same friends, and in the locker room I see all the same faces. There are only maybe four, five new faces. It feels like just yesterday when I left Anaheim. It was like moving back home.” [...]
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Avalanche loses at Dallas 3-1
While the music was blaring at the American Airlines Center on Saturday evening, you’d be hard-pressed to hear it over the gasps of the fans as they watched the Dallas Stars defeat the Avalanche 3-1. It was a theme throughout the night as one player recorded the Gordie Howe Hat Trick and both teams struggled to capitalize on the numerous miscues of the other. Colorado just struggled a lot more. The Avs (4-2-0) had their first real chance just over five minutes into the game when Stars defenseman Esa Lindell was penalized for holding. The Avs managed just a single shot — and a poor one at that — on the power play, something that has plagued the team to start the season. Entering the game, the Avs had converted on only 16 percent of their power-play opportunities — and were just 1-of-12 on the road. The numbers just got worse as they had four power-play opportunities and the Stars (2-3-0) killed them all. That they failed to capitalize against Dallas shouldn’t come as a surprise, given the Stars have yet to allow a short-handed goal this season. But that doesn’t explain the penalties the Avs committed, resulting in chances for the Stars, a team that is considerably better with the extra player. The Stars entered Saturday tied for second in the NHL in converting on nearly 34 percent of their opportunities. They had their struggles as well, failing to convert on their first four opportunities of the game. However, captain Jamie Benn, with an assist from center Tyler Seguin, broke a scoreless tie in the opening minute of the second period and Seguin capitalized on the fifth power play by scoring in the final seconds of the second period, thanks to assists from Devin Shore and Benn. Related Articles Chambers: Anaheim saw in Beuachemin what the Avalanche could not Avalanche, Stars off to unexpected starts this season Avalanche dominates, but wins a tight one over Anaheim Avalanche rookie Tyson Jost out 1-2 games with bone bruise Nathan MacKinnon doing everything but scoring goals for Avalanche It certainly could’ve been worse for the Avs. They managed to kill a 5-on-3 power play in the second period and were outshot by the Stars 36-22 on the night. But the offense was stale for the most part, failing to make Stars goalie Ben Bishop sweat too much in the net. Center Nathan MacKinnon, who started for the Avs despite a scary injury Friday night. managed just one shot Saturday. Center Matt Duchene was the one who came through for the Avs in the opening minutes of the third period by scoring a goal to cut the lead to 2-1. Duchene now has three goals to go with his three assists. His offense alone though wasn’t enough to overcome Benn and Seguin. Seguin, by the way, was the player who recorded the Gordie Howe Hat Trick — an assist, a goal and a fight in the same game. While his scoring is nothing new, the fight was the first of his career and came as he disproved of Nikita Zadorov roughing Benn in the third period. The fight actually came against former Star Patrik Nemeth, who was just picked up by the Avs on waivers less than two weeks ago. Lindell added an empty-netter for the Stars in the closing minute to put the icing on the cake. Colorado gets a couple days off before taking on the Predators in Nashville on Tuesday. [...]
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Avalanche dominates, but wins a tight one over Anaheim
An offensive attack not seen in years at the Pepsi Center developed Friday night. In dominating possession, limiting turnovers, using tremendous speed and creating second chances on seemingly every rush, the Avalanche played a thrilling brand of hockey before an appreciative, long-suffering crowd. The Anaheim Ducks were severely winged. Colorado, however, failed to capitalize on 6-of-8 power plays and had two disallowed goals because of goaltender interference to skate away with a tight triumph. A power-play goal by Avs defenseman Tyson Barrie broke a 1-1 tie at 14:21 of the third period and led to a 3-1 victory after a 190-foot empty-net goal by defenseman Nikita Zadorov with 0.5 seconds left. Suddenly, the 2016-17 last-place Avalanche is 4-1 and looking like a playoff contender. After the game, the thought-to-be serious injury to standout center Nathan MacKinnon became a relief. MacKinnon left the game in the first period with an eye injury, after he was high-sticked in the face by the Ducks’ Derek Grant, who was trying to lift MacKinnon’s stick beside the Anaheim net. Avs coach Jared Bednar said MacKinnon should be fine and play Saturday in Dallas. “He had some vision problems immediately after but right now things have settled down and he should be good to go for tomorrow,” Bednar said. Said Avs captain Gabe Landeskog: “We were scared for him there. Really scared for him. Let alone losing him for the game or for the season, it’s the rest of your life. You only have two eyes.” Former Ducks goalie Jonathan Bernier got the start for Colorado, which outshot Anaheim 30-8 through two periods and 39-18 for the game. The Avs appeared to go ahead 2-0 in the second period but forward Blake Comeau was called for goalie interference on Reto Berra before linemate Matt Nieto shot the puck past Berra, the former Av. Related ArticlesOctober 13, 2017 Avalanche rookie Tyson Jost out 1-2 games with bone bruise October 12, 2017 Nathan MacKinnon doing everything but scoring goals for Avalanche October 12, 2017 Adam Foote joins Denver NHL player agency KO Sports Inc. October 11, 2017 Avalanche hang on to beat Bruins in home opener at Pepsi Center October 11, 2017 Nail Yakupov glad to be in Colorado with Avalanche The Avs used their coach’s challenge to try to overturn the call on the ice, but instead only lost their timeout as the call stood. In the third period, after the Ducks tied it 1-1 with a short-handed goal, Alex Kerfoot’s goal was disallowed because referees ruled Kerfoot interfered with Berra before a shot from the point caromed in the net off Kerfoot’s back. Colorado might have overturned the call with a coach’s challenge, but had already used it. Bernier improved to 1-1 and the Avs are now 2-0 at home. “Last two games have been pretty easy for the goalies, especially tonight,” Bernier said. “We played the right way for 60 (minutes). We used our speed. We cycled the puck. We spent a lot of time in their zone. We wore them down.” Injury-plagued Anaheim played without a handful of its best players in forwards Ryan Getzlaf and Ryan Kesler and defensemen Kevin Bieksa, Sami Vantanen and Hampus Lindholm. But the Ducks managed to stay in the game with their penalty kill and their short-handed goal by defenseman Brandon Montour early in the third period. “I liked a lot of what we did,” Bednar said. “No. 1, we were skating tonight. We were skating back into our zone, getting give guys in there to break out and we did that cleanly a lot. And then up ice we were relentless on the puck. We created power plays. We created secondary opportunities by tracking the puck, forcing turnovers and stealing pucks. We were skating and we were relentless on it.” Colorado was scheduled to depart for Dallas following the game and will play the Stars on Saturday night to begin a two-game trip. The Avs play at Nashville on Tuesday. [...]
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