Jets battle Avalanche in 1st road test in 17 days
Unbeaten-in-5 Colorado carries 8-game home win into Tuesday contest
After playing just one road game in the last month, the Winnipeg Jets may hardly remember what it's like to visit an opponent's rink.
Right now, Denver doesn't seem like the best place to get reacquainted with the feeling.
The surging Colorado Avalanche look to extend their home winning streak to nine Tuesday against the Jets (7 p.m. MT).
The Avs (19-17-1) are also trying to win a season-high sixth straight overall after ending a nine-game road losing streak with a 4-2 win at Minnesota on Monday.
Their run of good fortune in Denver has included three shootout wins and three other one-goal victories, adding up to their longest winning streak there since the franchise relocated from Quebec in 1995.
"It is something that we are really proud of," said goalie Jean-Sebastien Giguere, who has won the last four home games thanks to a 1.45 goals-against average. "Especially this team, they have had so many great teams here and to be able to have a team record - it is amazing for us."
The club's last five in Colorado have each come by a one-goal margin, including Friday's 2-1 overtime win over Tampa Bay.
The eight-game surge, led offensively by Ryan O'Reilly's five goals and four assists, has been especially surprising considering the Avs dropped nine of their first 13 at home.
"The way we started the season here at home, I don't think anybody would have thought that this would happen," Giguere said Friday. "We put a lot of pressure on us to be better at home. This is a building that should be hard for opposing teams to play in and we have done it as of late."
Winnipeg (16-14-5) has had a difficult time in most road venues, going 4-8-4 outside of Manitoba.
The team's only trip in the last month resulted in a 7-1 loss at Detroit on Dec. 10, which dropped Ondrej Pavelec to 0-4-3 with a 4.00 goals-against average in his last seven road starts.
The Jets haven't played anywhere since losing 4-1 to Pittsburgh on Friday, and the time off should have helped after they finished a stretch of three games in four nights with a lackluster effort, getting outshot 39-19.
"I don't think it was work ethic that was the problem," coach Claude Noel said. "There was fatigue, there was some things about some guys that didn't have legs much … I thought there was some things that happen when you play this many games."
Noel's club can only hope to replicate the results in Denver from the franchise's time in Atlanta. The Thrashers last lost in regulation at Colorado in 2002, going 4-0-1 there since.
The Jets, however, will encounter a confident Avalanche team that rallied from a pair of early deficits Monday and surged ahead with two third-period goals. O'Reilly scored on the power play in the second and set up Jan Hejda's game-winner, while David Van der Gulik had two assists for his first NHL multi-point game.
Giguere could be back in net for the second half of this back-to-back scenario after Semyon Varlamov stopped 20 shots in St. Paul.