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Field Level Media - Professional sports content solutions | FLM

Jan 16, 2024 2:15 am

Avs get quick chance to reset vs. Senators

After a rare setback, the Colorado Avalanche look to get back on track when they visit the Ottawa Senators on Tuesday.

The Avalanche are coming off a 4-3 road loss to the Montreal Canadiens on Monday, just their second defeat in the past nine games.

“Reset,” Colorado coach Jared Bednar said after the game. “Our top line played 29 minutes (Monday), so hopefully we’re getting some fresh bodies into the lineup (Tuesday), a little renewed energy.

“I know our team pretty well. … They need their rest. I feel like we’ll probably skate a little bit better, have some more energy for (Tuesday). It’s usually how we are — better on the back-to-back.”

The loss prevented Colorado from taking over first place in the Central Division. The Winnipeg Jets sit one point ahead of the Avalanche.

The Avalanche have dropped at least two consecutive games only four times this season and not since defeats on Dec. 7 and Dec. 9. Only once have they lost three in a row, from Nov. 30-Dec. 3, when they went 0-1-2.

Colorado forward Nathan MacKinnon has been tearing it up all season long, and he added an assist against Montreal to extend his point streak to eight games. He has racked up 14 points (four goals, 10 assists) in that stretch.

Sitting second in the NHL with 70 points on the season, MacKinnon is on pace for 130 points, which would eclipse last year’s career-high, 111-point output.

The 28-year-old had four goals and an assist in his previous meeting against Ottawa on Dec. 21, a 6-4 Colorado win in Denver. He has 29 career points against the Senators, his highest total against any Eastern Conference opponent.

The Senators, meanwhile, are keeping the faith as they try to find some consistency in a miserable season.

They snapped a five-game losing streak on Saturday, eking out a 5-4 win against the visiting San Jose Sharks thanks to Vladimir Tarasenko’s tally with five seconds remaining in the third period. It was only their fourth win in their past 16 games.

“There’s nobody in this room that doesn’t have faith in the guys in here,” defenseman Thomas Chabot, who scored his first goal of the season against the Sharks, told the Ottawa Sun. “We all know what we’re capable of, we all know what we have, and I’ve said it multiple times, it’s about the guys we have in the room. We’re the ones going out there playing, and everybody’s still got faith.”

Goaltending has been a season-long issue for the Senators, who allowed at least four goals in 17 of their past 18 defeats, all of which came in regulation.

It’s been an equally frustrating season for forward Tim Stutzle on a personal level. After putting up a career-high 39 goals last season, the 22-year-old has seven through 38 games this season (a 15-goal pace).

On an encouraging note, though Stutzle hasn’t scored a goal in his past nine games, he picked up four points, all assists, against the Sharks to end a four-game point drought.

“I’ve been struggling a lot,” he said. “It’s tough when you’ve been struggling to keep your confidence up. I believe in myself. I think I’m a really good player. (Saturday) I wanted the puck more. I tried to get the swagger back.”

–Field Level Media

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