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Five-game trip opens with Jets

January 8, 2019, 3:58 PM ET [1 Comments]
Rick Sadowski
Colorado Avalanche Blogger •Avalanche Insider • RSSArchiveCONTACT
The Avalanche face Winnipeg on Tuesday to open a five-game trip through Canada, their longest excursion of the season.


They’ll also play in Calgary, Montreal, Toronto and Ottawa before returning home to play Los Angeles on Jan. 19.

"It is an important road trip for us against some really good teams, so it will be a fun challenge," captain Gabriel Landeskog said. "Usually this time of year, after the holidays, everybody has gotten their fill of family and friends and now we can kind of go on the road and start spending some time together as a team again."

Coach Jared Bednar said after practice Monday that his New Year’s resolution is to refrain from disclosing the lineup in advance, including the starting goalie.

“I just don’t want to keep handing it out to visiting teams,” he said.

Going to guess the Avalanche uses the lineup it did Friday in the 6-1 win against the New York Rangers that ended a six-game losing streak.

If that’s the case, Philipp Grubauer would start against the Jets; he was the first goalie off the ice at the morning skate. Semyon Varlamov likely would then get the call Wednesday against the Flames. He last played New Year’s Eve against Los Angeles before missing time with a lower-body injury.

Mark Barberio and Colin Wilson practiced Monday, are on the trip and expected to play at some point, Bednar said.

Barberio, who’s missed 17 games with a lower-body injury, practiced while wearing a red, non-contact jersey and switched to a regular jersey near the end of the session. Wilson, who’s missed five games with an upper-body injury, wore a green sweater (as did “linemate” Gabriel Bourque).

“Those guys will both be on the trip and will hopefully be options for us as the trip moves along," Bednar said.

Conor Timmins (concussion) practiced with a red sweater and looks to have made a lot of progress. Nikita Zadorov (lower body) wore red and skated on his own before practice.

The Avalanche are 11-8-3 on the road but 0-3-1 in the past four games away from the Pepsi Center. The Jets are 14-6-2 at home and second in the Central Division with 54 points, six more than third-place Colorado, which has played one more game.

“They’re deep, they don’t have a weakness,” Nathan MacKinnon said of the Jets. “That’s why they went to the conference final last year. They’re one of the best teams in the league. We’re not as good as Winnipeg, but we can beat anybody any night.”

The Jets defeated the Avalanche 5-2 in Winnipeg on Nov. 9.

"We have been good on the road, there is lots to like about our road game and some of the things that we have done on the road this year," Bednar said. "We have been a confident group, maybe takes a little bit of the pressure off. At the same time, these are top teams for a reason and we know we are going to have to be our best, but sometimes our team elevates when we get in those situations."

The expected lineup:

Gabriel Landeskog -- Nathan MacKinnon -- Mikko Rantanen
Tyson Jost -- Alexander Kerfoot -- J.T. Compher
Matt Nieto -- Carl Soderberg -- Matt Calvert
Sven Andrighetto – Sheldon Dries -- Logan O’Connor

Samuel Girard -- Erik Johnson
Ian Cole -- Tyson Barrie
Ryan Graves -- Patrik Nemeth

Philipp Grubauer
Semyon Varlamov

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