Avalanche Returns to Family Sports Ahead of Contest vs. Knights

CENTENNIAL, Colo.–The Colorado Avalanche has landed back in Denver after three games on the East Coast.

The club took the ice Monday at the Family Sports Center after a dayless Sunday ahead of their Tuesday night matchup against the Vegas Golden Knights.

Defenseman Samuel Girard was off the ice after scoring late in overtime against the Tampa Bay Lightning on Saturday, though head coach Jared Bednar didn’t rule him out for Tuesday’s contest.

“He’s sore from last night from the blow he took overtime so maintenance day. We’ll see how it feels tomorrow,” Bednar said of Girard.

Devon Towes, who has been skating in a non-contact jersey since the start of the season, was also off the ice for practice as he was with the doctors and cleared for controlled contact.

“He’ll have controlled contact for a week – I guess – depending on how he’s feeling. Now it’s going to come down to his confidence in it,” Bednar said after training. “He felt good, he’s strong. He’s going to get controlled contact, we’re going to put him in a full contact jersey at some point and like I said once we get to that point, he’s definitely going to have controlled contact for a little bit – days if not a week. And after that he will make contact and if he feels good he will prepare for the game.”

There were 11 strikers on the ice for practice Tyson Jost also had a maintenance day and Mikhail Malstev was transferred to Avs American Hockey League affiliate Colorado Eagles on Sunday.

Bednar reported that more roster changes may be on the way, but likely not until the team prepares to get back on the road on Wednesday.

“We’re at home and it depends on some of the reports we’re getting from the training room about these guys today,” Bednar said. “Then when we go on tour you generally have to make sure you have an extra body or two in case something happens or in case someone isn’t 100 percent at 100 percent and you want to make a line-up change. So, I don’t know what tomorrow night will be like, but I would assume we’ll probably call someone back in the next few days.”


Valery Nikhushkin skated during practice as part of his rehab conditioning with skills coach Shawn Allard. He played against the Chicago Blackhawks in the season opener but has been out since with a torso injury.

Additionally, Pavel Françouz took the ice for the first time before practice as he was sidelined for three to four weeks after suffering from a lower body condition at a preseason competition on Oct. 5.

“I mean both guys are on the ice which is a positive sign and doing a lot of work off the ice as well,” Bednar said. “Well, Val, I’d say it’s still week-to-week, not day-to-day. And Frankie, same thing. They’re making good progress, but they still have a little work to do.”

Bowen Byram his level of comfort this year: “I think last year when I was playing my games I was still quite nervous and hesitant and this year I feel a lot more comfortable on the ice no matter who’s out there. I remember last year playing a big name guy I’d be like, ‘Oh dear, look who’s out here,’ but this year I’m feeling a lot more comfortable in that regard.”

Jared Bednar on meeting the knights: “They go through a bit of what we go through with guys from the lineup. The margin of error in winning hockey games is going down and I watched them play last night and I mean they played hard, they played well and it’s a lift one way or another and they could have won that hockey game. They still have a lot of really good players, it’s a really good team, it’s a strong team. You know we gotta keep building on what we did in Tampa. It was a good game from us, it was a really good game from us. They’re going to be a hungry side for sure, they’re not where they want to be at the start of the year and neither are we, so we’ll be fighting for two points tomorrow night.

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