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Playoff spot (for now) at stake

February 2, 2019, 4:13 PM ET [3 Comments]
Rick Sadowski
Colorado Avalanche Blogger •Avalanche Insider • RSSArchiveCONTACT
The second wild card playoff spot in the Western Conference, at least temporarily, is on the line Saturday when the Avalanche and Vancouver play at the Pepsi Center.


The Avalanche (22-20-8) and Canucks (23-22-6) each have 52 points, but Colorado has the playoff position heading into the game because it has played one fewer game.

Semyon Varlamov will start in goal for the seventh time in eight games. He’s 2-2-0 in his past four starts, allowing 11 goals in this stretch.

Philipp Grubauer faced 37 shots Nov. 2 in the Avalanche’s 7-6 overtime loss in Vancouver.

The Avalanche and Canucks are both coming off the NHL All-Star and league-mandated breaks.

“Whatever line of work you’re in, a week off is sometimes needed to get refreshed and recharged,” Gabriel Landeskog said after the morning skate. “I thought we had some real good juice at practice (Friday). We were real excited to go, and the same thing this morning. We know we have to be able to turn the page and start winning some hockey games.”

The Avalanche have lost two straight games and are 3-10-2 in the past 15.

“This one especially you want to get off to a good start and hopefully that can propel you forward,” Landeskog said. “We know that every point is important. We have 32 games in 64 days starting today, so it’s going to be a grind, but that’s the beauty of it. Nobody thought it wasn’t going to be tight, nobody thought it wasn’t going to be hard.

“It’s going to be a lot of fun in the last 2 1-2 months, we’re real excited to get going. It’s nice to start off here with two games on home ice (they play Columbus on Tuesday) before the road trip.”

Landeskog said it’s important to just go out and play the right way and not put too much pressure on themselves.

“We know what the standings are, we know what the situation is and we know what’s expected out of us, but at the same time you have to take it one day at a time,” he said. “You can’t look too far ahead.”

As noted Friday, the Avalanche will use some new lines, breaking up the top unit of Landeskog, Nathan MacKinnon and Mikko Rantanen again, though coach Jared Bednar said the trio will be reunited at times.

The lineup:

Alexander Kerfoot -- Nathan MacKinnon – Colin Wilson
Gabriel Landeskog – Carl Soderberg – Mikko Rantanen
Matt Nieto – J.T. Compher -- Matt Calvert
Sven Andrighetto – Sheldon Dries – Gabriel Bourque

Samuel Girard – Erik Johnson
Ian Cole – Tyson Barrie
Nikita Zadorov – Patrik Nemeth

Semyon Varlamov
Philipp Grubauer

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