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NHL Preview from The Sports Network
Thursday, December 12th (All times Eastern)
Colorado Avalanche (20-9-0) at Winnipeg Jets (14-14-4), 8 p.m.
(SportsNetwork.com) - The Colorado Avalanche hope to avoid their second three- game losing streak of the season when they visit the Winnipeg Jets for Thursday's Central Division battle at MTS Centre.
The Avalanche have lost two straight games in regulation and another setback on Thursday would match the club's worst skid of the season, an 0-3-0 stretch from Nov. 12-16. Colorado also has lost three of four to begin December and has been outscored by a 16-7 margin so far this month.
Both of Colorado's recent setbacks came by 3-1 scores, including Tuesday's loss against visiting Phoenix. Antoine Vermette notched a pair of goals to help the Coyotes take down Colorado at the Pepsi Center and the Avs fell to 10-5-0 as the home team this season.
Semyon Varlamov made 22 saves for the Avalanche, whose lone offense came on a Patrick Bordeleau tally late in the second period.
Varlamov is 0-2-0 with a lofty 5.61 goals against average in his last two starts, but he will get the call over Jean-Sebastien Giguere on Thursday. The Russian netminder is 5-3-0 with a 2.62 GAA in nine career outings against the Atlanta/Winnipeg franchise.
Following Thursday's road tilt, the Avalanche will play two straight and three of their next four in Denver. Colorado is 10-4-0 away from the Mile High City this season.
The Jets, who have lost two of three and seven of their last 11 games, began a three-game homestand on Tuesday with a 2-1 regulation loss against the St. Louis Blues. Kevin Shattenkirk' scored the game-winner for the Blues on the power play with just 3:02 left in the third period.
Jets defenseman Dustin Byfuglien was sent off for hooking with 3:26 to play in the third period, and the Blues wasted little time in breaking a 1-1 deadlock. Derek Roy fed across to Shattenkirk at the left point, and his shot changed direction en route to the net and floated over Winnipeg netminder Ondrej Pavelec.
"I thought the game was ... a chess match played game early," said Jets head coach Claude Noel. "They ended up scoring a seeing-eye, power-play goal, so what can you do?"
Bryan Little scored the lone goal for the Jets, while Pavelec made 18 saves in a losing effort.
Evander Kane missed his fourth straight game due to a lower-body injury on Tuesday and the young forward will miss another tilt on Thursday. Kane has seven goals and seven assists in 26 games this season.
The loss was the fourth straight defeat on home ice for Winnipeg, which hasn't posted a win at MTS Centre since beating Philadelphia for a shootout decision on Nov. 15.
The Jets are 7-7-3 on home ice in 2013-14 and will close their homestand in Saturday's matinee battle against Dallas.
Colorado earned a 3-2 home regulation win against Winnipeg on Oct. 27. Varlamov made 23 saves for the victory and Al Montoya took the loss after allowed Paul Stastny to score the game-winner with 5:28 left in the third period.
Despite the setback from earlier this season, the Jets franchise, which was formerly known as the Atlanta Thrashers, have claimed five of the past eight meetings in this series.
12/12 10:49:41 ET
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