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The Colorado Avalanche vs. The Ottawa Senators: The Climb Back to Relevancy

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The Colorado Avalanche will face The Senators at The Pepsi Center Thursday night as each team looks to get back into the playoff discussion.

Tangs in Flight
Tangs in Flight
USA TODAY Sports

The Avs, fresh off of a Semyon Varlamov masterpiece, will look to rebound against a middling Ottawa squad at home Thursday night.  The Avs won 2-0 after Varly posted 54 saves in a shutout win against Chicago.  Not only did he face fifty plus shots, there were as many as 90 that either missed the net or were blocked.  That is a huge work load for a goalie coming off of a groin injury, so we may just have our first Reto Berra sighting in a long while.  Then again, Patty likes to ride hot goal tending, so that's nothing more than conjecture.

Matt Duchene has had a few nifty passes the last few games, but that's about it.  We haven't seen the speed were used to, and his minutes have gone down slightly.  This could mean he tweaked something, or maybe he's just cold.  Whatever it is, he has done little to spark the team, tossing only a couple of shots out a night, and hitting the net only once per game over the last five games.  I'd look for Dutchy to start slump busting against the lack-luster bottom lines of Ottawa.  Hopefully with last change Roy can get the struggling star a few favorable O Zone starts.

The Avs could see old friend Craig Anderson in net, and he is back to his old ways after some lack luster years in The Great White North.  His .929 Sv% and 2.33 GAA are towards the top of the league for players with more than a handful of starts.  He did, however struggle in their win against Colorado earlier this season, giving up a few softies early.

The perplexing case of Bobby Ryan continues for The Sens, as the star forward has immense offensive talent, yet still only sees 13 or so minutes a night due to substandard defensive.  Much like PAP in his time here, Ryan is somewhat of a power play specialist, so keeping out of the box may be the best way to limit the best offensive threat Ottawa has.  The problem for Ottawa this season has been much the same as the Avs, a limited bottom six and tons of shots against that has brought stars like Ryan and defenceman Erik Karlsson under fire.

Overall, the Avs and senators are pretty evenly matched.  Both have 40 points and are riding a star goaltender who is making up for some defensive inadaquacies.  If every team in the league followed the same formula as these two, it would make for quite a few more exciting games.  Expect a lot of shots, a lot of skating, and a lot of saves.

Go Avs Go!

Thursday 7pm MT

TV: ALT, RDS, TSN5

Radio: 104.3 FM