1: Slow down a speed-driven Avalanche. Colorado has some very fast forwards. Just watch Nathan MacKinnon, Matt Duchene or Gabriel Landeskog and you’ll see some of the fastest, youngest skaters in the NHL. They really try to hurt you through the neutral zone where, if you turn the puck over or get caught flat-footed, they will end up with a solid scoring chance. Checking well against these speedsters is key.
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2: Stop Colorado’s power play. Not many teams work on their power play the day of a morning skate, and that’s exactly what head coach Patrick Roy had his team doing as soon as they stepped on the ice this morning. They have not scored a power play goal in their last two games, this after having gone an impressive 11-for-26 in their previous 10 contests. Landeskog, Duchesne, Ryan O'Reilly and especially the 18-year-old MacKinnon are the guys to watch when the Avs have the man advantage.
3: Big game for Bryan Bickell. Bicks was a stud in last year’s Stanley Cup playoffs with nine goals and eight assists in 23 pressure-packed games. The pressure of the playoffs is gone, and so is the urgency in Bickell’s game. He had been playing with two knee braces and was healthy enough to play with just one brace in his last game. He has played fewer than 10 minutes in three of his last five games. Bickell knows he can be better, and tonight he should be.