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NHL Preview from The Sports Network



Sunday, December 29th (All times Eastern)

Winnipeg Jets (17-18-5) at Colorado Avalanche (23-11-3), 8 p.m.

(SportsNetwork.com) - Following a winless road trip against some of the top teams in the NHL, the Colorado Avalanche begin a lengthy stay at home on Sunday night as they play host to the Winnipeg Jets.

The Avs lost back-to-back shootouts in Los Angeles and San Jose before getting routed by Chicago 7-2 on Friday. All seven Blackhawk goals were scored against Jean-Sebastien Giguere, who faced 24 shots through two periods.

Semyon Varlamov relieved Giguere to start the third and stopped all 13 shots he faced in Colorado's seventh setback in its last 10 games.

Paul Stastny, who turned 28 on Friday, put Colorado on the board in the second period and Gabriel Landeskog added a third-period goal. P.A. Parenteau assisted on both goals.

"They always seemed to play well at home and we came out with a lackluster effort in the first," said Colorado defenseman Ryan Wilson, who played for the first time since Nov. 6 due to a back injury. "It just kind of got out of control from there."

The Avalanche, who sit third in the Central Division, begin a string of seven straight at home that runs through Jan. 10.

The Jets, meanwhile, are coming off just their third victory in 10 games thanks to a 6-4 victory over the Minnesota Wild on Friday in a back-and-forth contest.

Blake Wheeler scored twice, giving him 14 goals on the season for the Jets. Nine of those have come in 12 games this month.

Evander Kane, Olli Jokinen, Dustin Byfuglien and Tobias Enstrom all scored and Jacob Trouba contributed two assists in the win.

Starting goaltender Ondrej Pavelec, who had lost seven of his previous eight decisions, was pulled 7:04 into the game after allowing three goals on six shots. Al Montoya turned aside 22-of-23 shots to help provide stability in net and get the win.

"We made a goalie change that didn't really have much to do with Pavelec," Winnipeg head coach Claude Noel said. "It was clearly a message, to me, not to Ondrej, but to our team."

Despite those words, Montoya is expected to get the start tonight after moving to 6-2-1 with a 2.14 goals against average on the season. He is 1-1-1 with a 2.32 GAA in three lifetime meetings with the Avs.

That includes a loss in Colorado on Oct. 27 as he gave up three goals on 36 shots faced.

The Avs have won the first two of five meetings this season, picking up a victory at home and in Winnipeg on Dec. 12. Varlamov was in net for both wins, moving to 6-3-0 with a 2.64 lifetime versus the Winnipeg franchise.

The Jets may have defenseman Zach Bogosian back in the lineup tonight after he missed Friday's game due to illness.

12/29 10:31:40 ET

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