Homestand not helping Avs’ record
Colorado’s Nathan MacKinnon gets checked into the Pepsi Center boards by the Los Angeles Kings on Nov. 15. The Avalanche, winless on its latest homestand, is 9-12-1 overall and tied with Arizona for having the fewest points (19) in the NHL. Seth McConnell, The Denver Post
This five-game homestand seemed a prime opportunity for the Avalanche to climb out of the Central Division basement and start to look like a team capable of jumping back into the hunt for a playoff berth. Uh … never mind. The Avalanche is winless on the hometand, at 0-3-1, heading into the final game Saturday night against the Dallas Stars at the Pepsi Center.
The latest setback was a 3-2 loss to the Columbus Blue Jackets on Thursday night.
At 9-12-1, Colorado is tied with the Arizona Coyotes for the fewest points in the NHL, each with 19. The season barely is onefourth over, but Colorado entered Friday six points out of what would be the final playoff slot in the Western Conference. That’s not as daunting as the fact that the Avalanche would have to climb over five teams to get there.
“The result is what it is,” said coach Jared Bednar. “We have to keep working and find our way through it. What I liked within our room and on our bench is the response we’re getting from some of our guys and what they’re saying. I feel like the urgency is there.”
After the game Thursday night, the Avalanche sent wingers Sam Henley and Gabriel Bourque — who had been recalled Wednesday — back to San Antonio of the AHL. That happened even after Henley scored a goal in his first NHL game and Bednar praised him in the coach’s postgame remarks.
“He did what we thought he would do,” Bednar said of Henley. “Ran out there and ran into some people, played with energy. Good for the kid to come up in his first game. He just keeps it simple, funnels pucks to the net and gets himself his first NHL goal. So good showing for him.”
The Avalanche canceled a scheduled 11 a.m. practice Friday and instead went through off-ice workouts.
Friday afternoon, the Avalanche recalled center Rocco Grimaldi, 23, from the Rampage. The 5-foot-6, 180-pound Southern California native and former University of North Dakota standout came to the Avalanche from the Florida Panthers in June for goaltender Reto Berra. He had four goals in 27 games with the Panthers over two seasons, while spending the rest of the time in the AHL. He is San Antonio’s leading scorer, with six goals and 15 points.
The recall means that the Avalanche is carrying one extra forward, with Gabe Landeskog on the injured list.
When Henley and Gabriel Bourque both played against Columbus, Joe Colborne and Cody McLeod were the Avs’ healthy scratches.
DALLAS AT COLORADO Spotlight on Patrick Eaves:
7 p.m. Saturday, ALT; 92.5 FM The son of ex-NHL forward and former Wisconsin hockey coach Mike Eaves, who was succeeded this season by former Avalanche coach Tony Granato, is with his fifth NHL team and leads the Stars in goals with nine. He was Ottawa’s first-round draft pick in 2003 — 29th overall — after his freshman year at Boston College, and he ended up playing two more seasons with the Eagles before signing.