National Hockey League
Avalanche-Jets Preview
National Hockey League

Avalanche-Jets Preview

Updated Mar. 4, 2020 10:12 p.m. ET

Looking to remain in playoff position, the Colorado Avalanche must do so without captain Gabriel Landeskog for the time being.

Landeskog begins his three-game suspension as the Avalanche try for a third straight victory Saturday night against the Winnipeg Jets in the opener of a four-city Canadian trip.

Two points up on Minnesota for the second wild-card spot in the Western Conference, Colorado (35-30-4) made a statement by handing Anaheim its first regulation defeat in a month with Wednesday's 3-0 victory.

"I think we proved that when we are playing our best, we can beat anyone," rookie forward Andreas Martinsen told the Avalanche's official website.


Facing four teams set to miss the playoffs, the Avs appear to have a good opportunity for more success on this trip but won't have Landeskog for almost all of it.

Third on the team with 46 points and among its leaders in average ice time at 18 minutes, 51 seconds, Landeskog was disciplined for his cross-check on the Ducks' Simon Despres.

"I'd like to think it was not that bad," coach Patrick Roy said after the game.

Though no penalty was called, the NHL thought otherwise and considered Landeskog a repeat offender after he was suspended two games earlier this season for a hit on Boston's Brad Marchand.

Looking to avoid a third straight road defeat, the Avs are expected to start Semyon Varlamov, who stopped all but one of 75 shots faced in the last two games. He sat the previous two contests after posting a 4.80 goals-against average in his three prior starts.

"I think (sitting two straight games) helped Varly to regroup," Roy said. "Sometimes it's good to step back, and he's been outstanding since."

Varlamov and backup Calvin Pickard have had a big hand in Colorado killing off 22 straight penalties and 32 of 33 in the last 11 contests.

Varlamov has started all four games against Winnipeg this season, with Colorado going 3-1-0. He stopped 56 of 58 shots to win both at Winnipeg.

The Avs took the first three meetings before falling 4-2 on Feb. 6.

The Jets (27-35-5) won their next game three nights later at St. Louis, but have gone 3-9-2 since and are looking to avoid a fourth straight defeat. They jumped out to a 2-0 first-period lead Thursday, then totaled 15 shots over the next two to fall 3-2 at Detroit.

''Just frustrating when you aren't getting the results like we aren't at the moment,'' said Michael Hutchinson, who made 32 saves.

The Jets have managed five goals in three contests and are 0 for 13 on the power play in the last four, but young forward Marko Dano has a goal and an assist in the last two games. Those are his first points in seven contests since coming over from Chicago in the Andrew Ladd deal.

"In some ways it takes a little pressure off him," coach Paul Maurice told the NHL's official website. "When you're new to a team, you want to come in, make an impact and show what you can do."

Winnipeg could be without defenseman Dustin Byfuglien after he left Thursday with an upper-body injury.

Colorado's Matt Duchene has three goals and two assists against the Jets this season.


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