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Avalanche Off-Day: Kovalenko Plan, Rantanen On ‘That Goal’

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Barring something changing in the next 24 hours, it does seem like the Colorado Avalanche should be running it back on Saturday night with the same lineup they had against the New York Rangers.

Valeri Nichushkin was still absent from practice due to a lower-body injury, and there was no real update on if he’ll play tomorrow, so we’ll just wait and see. Joel Kiviranta missed skate for the third consecutive day due to illness. Artturi Lehkonen was absent from what the team is calling a “maintenance day.”

Jean-Luc Foudy is still up with the team, and will play tomorrow if neither Nichushkin or Kiviranta are ready, but there’s still some question around what’s going on with Nikolai Kovalenko.

I was able to get a little more clarity from Jared Bednar on that situation.

“I think the plan is for him to test it this weekend on the ice at some point, by himself,” Bednar said. “If it goes well, then he’ll start ramping up.”

That ramping up would happen in Loveland, but the schedule for both teams is interesting. The Avalanche head out on the road for a week on Sunday, and after two home games this weekend, the Colorado Eagles don’t play at home until April 16. I guess we’ll see if Kovalenko travels with the Eagles at all. Everything I’ve heard so far is that things are still on plan for those last 4 or so regular season games for the Avalanche.

‘That Goal’

As of practice this afternoon, the Avalanche hadn’t received any word one way or the other if there would be a scoring chance to their second goal last night, but they don’t expect it to change. It’s likely Nathan MacKinnon‘s point streak is over.

Mikko Rantanen did confirm one thing – he didn’t touch the puck.

“I knew right away I didn’t touch it,” he said after practice. “I guess that they saw he had possession, which ended Nate’s streak, so that was really sad.”

Other News And Notes

  • Gabriel Landeskog skated on his own at practice, and then hung around when the team was working on special teams. Nothing new to really report there.
  • The Nashville Predators finally lost in regulation last night, but are still rolling and there’s now a real possibility they could face the Avalanche in round one.
    • “They are the hottest team in the league over the last 19-20 games,” Bednar said. “Not giving up a bunch of scoring chances, a high pressure team. Last night’s game should be good preparation for us.”
  • The Avalanche practiced 6-on-5 work today, something I hadn’t seen them done in a long time. A lot of powerplay work as well, as Casey Mittelstadt and the top powerplay unit looked out of sorts against the Rangers. Rantanen said they just have to get used to playing with each other and then everything will be fine.

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