Preview: Winnipeg at Colorado
When: 10:00 PM ET, Saturday, November 28, 2015
Where: Pepsi Center, Denver, Colorado
The Colorado Avalanche showed signs of recovering from a slow start to the season on a grueling seven-game road trip and maybe the Avalanche are looking forward to an upcoming four-game road swing. Colorado hosts the Winnipeg Jets on Saturday after a dispirited effort in Wednesday’s 5-3 home defeat to Ottawa as the Avalanche fell behind 4-1 after two periods in dropping to 2-6-1 at home.
“There’s no moral victories,” Colorado center Nathan MacKinnon told reporters after the Avalanche lost for the third time in four home games this month. “We need points.” The Avalanche face the Jets for the second time this week, wrapping up their 17-day road trip with a 4-1 triumph Monday in Winnipeg. The Jets played outstanding defense and goaltender Connor Hellebuyck was solid in recording 14 saves in his NHL debut Friday at Minnesota as Winnipeg prevailed 3-1 to snap a six-game road winless streak (0-5-1). “He was strong, and the whole team was strong in front of him,” Jets coach Paul Maurice told the media after the victory.
TV: 10 p.m. ET, SportsNet (Winnipeg), Altitude TV (Denver)
ABOUT THE JETS (11-11-2): The Jets are giving up an average of .59 goals more per game this season than last, but Friday’s performance was more encouraging. If Michael Hutchinson gets the nod in goal, he needs a good performance after surrendering 14 goals in his past four starts. Mathieu Perreault scored a power-play goal for the second consecutive game after the Jets opened November by going 2-for-38 with a man advantage.
ABOUT THE AVALANCHE (8-13-1): Goaltender Semyon Varlamov played well against the Jets on Monday, allowing one goal on 21 shots, but lasted only 1:42 into the second period against Ottawa after giving up three goals on 12 shots. Goaltending and defense have been an issue of late as Colorado has dropped four of its past five, giving up 21 goals in the four defeats. MacKinnon finished with a goal and an assist against the Senators and leads Colorado with 23 points, while Matt Duchene has 10 goals in November with seven goals and six assists in his past eight contests.
1. Winnipeg rookie F Nikolaj Ehlers snapped a 14-game goalless streak with his fifth of the season Friday.
2. Colorado coach Patrick Roy told reporters Friday he plans to start Varlamov on Saturday.
3. Winnipeg F Chris Thorburn, who picked up the assist on Ehlers’ tally, has played in 587 games with the Atlanta/Winnipeg franchise, seven off Ilya Kovalchuk’s franchise record.
PREDICTION: Jets 3, Avalanche 2