The Colorado Avalanche had bigger things than hockey on their
minds during their most recent game – and it showed.
They’ll hope to move on without ailing forward Tomas Fleischmann
and put forth a better effort Saturday against the Boston Bruins,
who haven’t lost in regulation on the road in more than a
Fleischmann has sparked Colorado (24-17-6) since arriving in a
trade from Washington on Nov. 30, posting 21 points in 22 games –
second on the team in that stretch to Matt Duchene.
But the Avalanche learned before Thursday’s 5-1 home loss to
Nashville that Fleischmann has blood clots in his lungs that will
sideline him for the rest of the season. Colorado trailed 2-0 after
one period and didn’t score until Duchene’s goal with 3:37 to
“That’s tough,” teammate Paul Stastny said. “I don’t think you
think much about hockey when you lose a player like that.”
While Fleischmann takes blood thinners to deal with what general
manager Greg Sherman called a “serious condition,” the Avalanche
hope they can replace his production. They’ve already dealt with
injuries this season to Chris Stewart and Milan Hejduk, among
“Obviously, it’s a big (blow),” Duchene said. “He has been one
of our best forwards.
“It’s tough to lose a guy like that, but we’ve been a team all
year that’s pressed forward when we’ve had injuries.”
Colorado’s offense should be tested by Boston, which has allowed
an NHL-low 102 goals.
The Bruins (26-14-7) are 5-0-3 away from home since a 4-3 loss
at Montreal on Dec. 16.
Tim Thomas was in net for that game, a rare blemish on a 12-1-4
road record for the runaway NHL leader in goals-against average
(1.83) and save percentage (.945). In his last start, Thomas made a
season-high 43 saves in Tuesday’s 3-2 win at Carolina.
Tuukka Rask played in Thursday’s 4-2 home loss to Buffalo. The
Bruins, who averaged 4.8 goals while winning five of their previous
six, had 40 shots but struggled to solve reigning Vezina Trophy
winner Ryan Miller.
“If you look at our record for the last month and a half, two
months, it’s been pretty consistent,” coach Claude Julien said. “I
don’t think it’s a matter of exploding our hockey club because we
had a tough night, it’s a matter of acknowledging it and hopefully
correcting it by playing a real good solid game next game.”
While Boston has gotten nine goals from five different
defensemen in its last five games, some of the team’s top forwards
are struggling. Milan Lucic leads the Bruins with 17 goals but has
one in his last 14 games, while Nathan Horton has scored once on 46
shots in his last 17.
The duo combined for 26 goals in Boston’s first 28 games.
Horton, stuffed on a breakaway against the Sabres, was a
teammate of Avalanche goalie Craig Anderson for three seasons with
In his first season with Colorado in 2009-10, Anderson was
22-12-3 with a 2.41 GAA at home to help the Avs reach the playoffs.
That success has eluded him lately; he’s 1-5-1 with a 3.58 GAA in
his last seven starts in Denver.
This is teams’ only meeting this season and their first since
the Avalanche won 4-3 in Boston on Oct. 12, 2009.
The Bruins, who play four of their next six against Western
Conference opponents, are 1-3-2 in interconference matchups and
none were true road games.
Colorado is 8-3-4 against the East.
Duchene, the Avs’ leader with 19 goals and 44 points, is one
point shy of 100 for his two-year career.