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Avs seek to put Game 3 loss behind them

  • Article by: Rachel Blount
  • Star Tribune
  • April 23, 2014 - 8:02 AM

Some things, Patrick Roy said, aren’t worth losing sleep over. At the top of the list for the Colorado coach: Monday night’s 1-0 overtime loss to the Wild in Game 3 of their first-round playoff series.

Roy said Tuesday he put that game “in the garbage can,’’ viewing it as an anomaly for a team that ruled the first two games of the series. He is confident the Avalanche will get back to its old self in Thursday’s Game 4 at Xcel Energy Center, despite having to move on without defenseman Tyson Barrie. He will miss the rest of the series because of a knee injury inflicted by a Matt Cooke hit in Monday’s game.

Despite Barrie’s importance to the Avs, Roy said his absence won’t complicate things. The coach noted that his team has overcome injuries to other key players this season and can stay the course this time as well. To do so, Roy said, the Avalanche must keep its game simple and rely on its considerable strengths.

“This is what we’ve been doing all year, finding a way to win when we lose an important player,’’ Roy said. “When we lost [center] Matt Duchene, everyone thought we were going to struggle, and our guys picked it up and found a way to win. I’m expecting them to do the same thing on this one. This is not a time of year where you have to feel sorry for yourself.

“[Barrie] is important to us, but at the same time, we have to be who we are. We cannot change our game. The guys need to play their game and find a different way to get some offense.’’

Duchene, the Avs’ leading scorer during the regular season, injured a knee March 31 and just resumed skating Monday. Another center, John Mitchell, also is out because of an upper-body injury, and winger Alex Tanguay played only 16 games because of knee and hip injuries. Forwards PA Parenteau and Paul Stastny also missed stretches of the season while injured.

Barrie will be replaced in the lineup by rugged defenseman Ryan Wilson. Roy said Barrie’s offensive skill enabled him to function almost like a fourth forward, and he will be particularly missed on the power play.

The Avalanche ranked fifth in the NHL on the power play during the regular season, converting on 19.8 percent of its chances. It has managed only one power-play goal on 11 opportunities in the playoffs and was blanked on four chances Monday. Roy praised the Wild’s penalty kill, but he also wants his team to get back to basics.

The coach said the Avalanche must do a better job of getting pucks through traffic to the net, screening the goalie and battling in front of the net on the power play and at even strength.

“Sometimes, it doesn’t have to be pretty,’’ he said.

Roy also hopes to see the Avs make smarter decisions in the neutral zone, getting pucks deep and doing a better job on the forecheck to put pressure on the Wild’s defense.

Etc.

• The Avalanche recalled forward Joey Hishon from Lake Erie of the AHL. Roy said Hishon has been playing well on the power play in the minors, and he will be watching to see how Hishon handles the pace of practice Wednesday.

“We’ll see under pressure on the power play if he can make a decision with the puck,’’ Roy said. “If I feel he’s ready, we might give him a shot at it.’’

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