Home­s­tand not help­ing Avs’ record

The Denver Post - - SPORTS - By Terry Frei

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.

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