Nathan MacKinnon #29 of the Colorado Avalanche skates against the Anaheim Ducks during preseason action at Pepsi Center on September 18, 2013 in Denver, Colorado. The Ducks defeated the Avalanche 2-1.
(September 17, 2013 - Source: Doug Pensinger/Getty Images North America)

MacKinnon to replace Duchene at center

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In the absence of injured center Matt Duchene, the top two Colorado Avalanche lines will look a little different when the suddenly struggling club hosts Chicago tomorrow.

Following is what the Denver Post expects we’ll see:

Gabriel Landeskog – Nathan MacKinnon – Ryan O’Reilly
Jamie McGinn – Paul Stastny – P.A. Parenteau

The Avs have also called up forward Brad Malone from AHL Lake Erie; the 24-year-old is expected to play on the fourth line with Marc-Andre Cliche and Patrick Bordeleau.

And just to round things out, the third line should feature John Mitchell between Cody McLeod and Max Talbot.

We wondered last week if the Avs could be headed for a reality check; their 4-1 loss to Florida on Saturday was their third straight regulation defeat.

To make matters worse, here’s what’s coming up:


Of note: goalie Semyon Varlamov’s save percentage for November is just .898. That’s well down from the .945 mark he registered in October, when he went 7-1-0 with a 1.76 goals-against average.

Related: Varlamov says his personal life ‘shouldn’t interfere’ with hockey

No hearing scheduled for Burmistrov after Bergeron headshot

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Winnipeg forward Alex Burmistrov isn’t in line for a disciplinary hearing for his elbow to the head of Boston’s Patrice Bergeron on Thursday night, an NHL spokesman confirmed to PHT.

Burmistrov was tagged with an illegal check to the head minor late in the first period. Bergeron received a minor roughing penalty for retaliating on the Russian forward, but was able to finish the contest.

Afterward, B’s head coach Claude Julien expressed frustration with the hit.

“It will be interesting how that is being reviewed, and especially to an elite player in the league who’€™s had some [concussion] issues in the past,” Julien said, per WEEI. “I hope they look at it seriously. In my mind, I don’€™t see why there wouldn’t be further consequences [for] that.”

Bergeron said that, while it was “definitely a hit to the head,” Burmistrov did come up to him afterward and apologized.

According to sources of CSNNE’s Joe Haggerty, Burmistrov received a warning from the Department of Player Safety.


After lopsided loss, Julien says it’s ‘not about the young D’

Claude Julien

The Boston Bruins’ young, makeshift defense failed to come through Thursday night as the B’s were thumped, 6-2, on home ice by the Winnipeg Jets.

Without injured veterans Zdeno Chara and Dennis Seidenberg, the defensive pairings were as follows:

Torey KrugAdam McQuaid
Joe MorrowKevan Miller
Matt IrwinZach Trotman

And let’s just say, turnovers were a factor:

That was Irwin getting checked off the puck there.

“I had the puck behind the net, and I went to one side of the net, and then I just didn’t use the net to my advantage,” he explained afterwards, per CSN New England. “He got his stick in there, obviously stripped me of the puck, and we all know what happened after that. I take full blame for that one.”

But head coach Claude Julien wasn’t willing to blame inexperience for the poor outing.

“It’s not about youth. It’s not about the young D,” said Julien. “It’s about our game without the puck. I think we might have gotten a little excited here about our offense and forgot about the other part of our game.”

And to be fair, even Boston’s more accomplished d-men had their challenging moments.

Here’s Krug failing to get position on Nicolas Petan in front of the Bruins’ net:

All in all, it was a tough night.

“We’ll correct those [mistakes] tomorrow in practice,” said Irwin. “We’re a confident group in here. We liked our offense. We liked the chances we were getting. All those mistakes, D-zone, are something that we’re going to work on and get better every day.”

The Bruins host their rivals from Montreal on Saturday.