Canes seek to hand Avs first road loss

Posted by Chip Alexander on November 12, 2013 

It's hard to say which is more impressive, the Colorado Avalanche's 14-2-0 overall record or their 6-0-0 road record. Home or away, the Avs have been tough to handle under first-year coach Patrick Roy.

"I think it's because of their mindset," Canes coach Kirk Muller said Tuesday. "They play a real high-pressure, come-at-you, in-your-face kind of game. I don't think they any fear whether they play in any rink."

The Avs beat the Canes 4-2 in Denver a few weeks ago. On Tuesday, they go for the season sweep.

"Their speed, especially up front, is so good they can just catch you on such a small hiccup," Canes center Jordan Staal said. "Most of the times you can get back, but with their speed if they have that one step they're going to burn you. It has to be a real detail game by us."

Avs forward Matt Duchene had a pair of goal and an assist in the game in Denver and came close to notching a hat trick. With 11 goals and eight assists, he is playing as well any forward in the league and should be working his way to a spot on Team Canada for the 2014 Olympics.

"He works hard and loves the game," said Staal, who noted he has roomed with Duchene in international competition. "A great student of the game. He loves talking hockey and everything about it."

-- The replay was being shown over and over on the TV in the Canes' locker room Thursday -- Steven Stamkos the Tampa Bay Lightning, on the ice in agony, then being carried off on a stretcher.

Stamkos suffered a broken tibia Monday in the game in Boston and it out indefinitely. In a flash, the NHL lost one of its top players.

"He's a great guy and great player and it was tough to see," Canes captain Eric Staal said. "I wish him the best recovery possible. He has a lot of bright days ahead of him."

Staal suffered a serious knee injury in May in the World Championship in Sweden but has months to recover and prepare for the season. Stamkos will miss a big chunk of the season and may not be able to compete for Canada in the Olympics.

"He's one of the elite guys in our game and one of the faces now," Canes coach Kirk Muller said. "For hockey fans, it's unfortunate. He's a pretty classy kid and one of the top guys in our game and people love to go see him play. When you lose stars like that it's tough on the league."

-- An injury update: Muller said goalie Cam Ward may be able to be in the lineup as the backup by the weekend and forward Jeff Skinner may rejoin practice by Friday or early next week.

Defenseman Tim Gleason will have to wait at least another game before jumping back in the lineup. The Canes will go with the defensive pairs of Justin Faulk-Andrej Sekera, Jay Harrison-Ryan Murphy and Brett Bellemore-Ron Hainsey.

"He needs a little more practice time," Muller said of Gleason, who is coming off an upper-body injury. "We're playing one of the quickest teams in the league right now. It's a tough one to get your feet wet and get back into it. He's going to get in and get in soon."

-- The lines remained unchanged from Monday's practice. Muller will stick with the power-play tweaks made in Monday practice, with Sekera quarterbacking the first unit and Murphy working with the second unit.

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