Jets-Avalanche Preview

After playing just one road game in the last month, the Winnipeg

Jets may hardly remember what it’s like to visit an opponent’s

rink.

Right now, Denver doesn’t seem like the best place to get

reacquainted with the feeling.

The surging Colorado Avalanche look to extend their longest home

winning streak since moving to the mountains to nine Tuesday night

against the Jets.

The Avs (19-17-1) are also trying to win a season-high sixth

straight overall after ending a nine-game road losing streak with a

4-2 win at Minnesota on Monday.

Their run of good fortune in Denver has included three shootout

wins and three other one-goal victories, adding up to their longest

winning streak there since the franchise relocated from Quebec in

1995.

“It is something that we are really proud of,” said goalie

Jean-Sebastien Giguere, who has won the last four home games thanks

to a 1.45 goals-against average. “Especially this team, they have

had so many great teams here and to be able to have a team record –

it is amazing for us.”

The club’s last five in Colorado have each come by a one-goal

margin, including Friday’s 2-1 overtime win over Tampa Bay.

The eight-game surge, led offensively by Ryan O’Reilly’s five

goals and four assists, has been especially surprising considering

the Avs dropped nine of their first 13 at home.

“The way we started the season here at home, I don’t think

anybody would have thought that this would happen,” Giguere said

Friday. “We put a lot of pressure on us to be better at home. This

is a building that should be hard for opposing teams to play in and

we have done it as of late.”

Winnipeg (16-14-5) has had a difficult time in most road venues,

going 4-8-4 outside of Manitoba.

The team’s only trip in the last month resulted in a 7-1 loss at

Detroit on Dec. 10, which dropped Ondrej Pavelec to 0-4-3 with a

4.00 goals-against average in his last seven road starts.

The Jets haven’t played anywhere since losing 4-1 to Pittsburgh

on Friday, and the time off should have helped after they finished

a stretch of three games in four nights with a lackluster effort,

getting outshot 39-19.

“I don’t think it was work ethic that was the problem,” coach

Claude Noel said. “There was fatigue, there was some things about

some guys that didn’t have legs much … I thought there was some

things that happen when you play this many games.”

Noel’s club can only hope to replicate the results in Denver

from the franchise’s time in Atlanta. The Thrashers last lost in

regulation at Colorado in 2002, going 4-0-1 there since.

The Jets, however, will encounter a confident Avalanche team

that rallied from a pair of early deficits Monday and surged ahead

with two third-period goals. O’Reilly scored on the power play in

the second and set up Jan Hejda’s game-winner, while David Van der

Gulik had two assists for his first NHL multipoint game.

Giguere could be back in net for the second half of this

back-to-back scenario after Semyon Varlamov stopped 20 shots in St.

Paul.