Avs back home to face Senators after strong road swing
The Colorado Avalanche are playing their first home game in more than three weeks, but the way they’ve been going, they might prefer to wear their visiting jerseys.
Thanks to the NHL All-Star weekend and the mandatory break every team gets, Colorado hasn’t played on home ice since Jan. 20. After 11 days off, the Avalanche embarked on a five-game road trip, and after losing the opener in Philadelphia, they reeled off four straight wins.
Now they come home to face one of the teams they handled last week — the Ottawa Senators. Colorado beat the Senators 4-1 in Ottawa on Thursday, and the teams complete the season series Tuesday night in Denver.
The Senators have lost two in a row and are 0-3-2 in their past five games. They haven’t played since Saturday while the Avalanche are set to play for the fourth time in six days. Colorado showed no fatigue in sweeping games at Columbus and Minnesota on Saturday and Sunday, respectively, but the injury bug has cropped up again.
Center Nazem Kadri, who has played well in his first season with the team, left the win over the Wild late in the second period with a lower-body injury and didn’t return. Colorado didn’t practice on Monday, so there was no update on his availability for Tuesday’s game, but coach Jared Bednar said after the game that keeping Kadri out could have been for precautionary reasons.
Kadri’s injury is unfortunate for the Avalanche, but it didn’t damper what the team accomplished in the past week.
“To take 4-1 on this road trip, especially this one against a division opponent, these are always important,” captain Gabriel Landeskog said after the win. “(I’m) happy with the way we’re playing right now.”
If Kadri’s injury is serious, Colorado could be looking to add a forward before the Feb. 24 trade deadline. Ottawa, on the other hand, may be a seller. The Senators have just 47 points and are 22 points behind the last Eastern Conference wild-card position. They also have 10 unrestricted free agents this summer, but general manager Pierre Dorian told TSN he isn’t going to make a trade just for the sake of making a deal.
“We do have a lot of picks already, we’ve got a lot of prospects coming, (and) Belleville (of the AHL) is in first place with one of the youngest teams in the minors, so getting picks and prospects just to make a trade this year isn’t something we’re probably going to look at,” Dorian said. “We’re going to make sure we’re going to move the right if we’re going to move players.”
The Avalanche made their big move in the offseason in acquiring Kadri from Toronto to add depth to the lines. The move has paid off with Colorado getting plenty of secondary scoring to compliment the top line of Nathan MacKinnon, Mikko Rantanen and Landeskog.
Landeskog and MacKinnon had two of the three goals in the win over Minnesota, but the Avalanche were able to win four in a row with just two goals from MacKinnon.
–Field Level Media