D-man Barrie Remains at Forward Tonight vs. Bruins
Tyson Barrie will play right wing on a line with Maxime Talbot and Cody McLeod
Avalanche head coach Patrick Roy will use the traditional 12-forward lineup tonight against the Boston Bruins.
It will just be that that 12th forward will be a defenseman.
"It depends on if you call [Tyson] Barrie a defenseman or a forward," Roy said with a smirk after the team's morning skate at Pepsi Center.
Roy using defensemen as forwards is nothing new as he's used the concept a few times this year. It started with Nick Holden playing up front on Nov. 1 at Dallas, and it continued last game with Barrie playing right wing on a line with center Nathan MacKinnon and left wing Gabriel Landeskog.
Barrie is one of the team's most offensive defenseman, and he had a good game as a forward versus the Jets. He saw 19:03 of ice time, had two shots, a plus-1 rating, delivered three hits and assisted on Holden's tying goal late in the second period.
"I thought he played really well against Winnipeg on the line with Landeskog and MacKinnon," Roy said. "Obviously, he isn't going to play with these guys [tonight]."
That's because Paul Stastny is back in the lineup after missing the game with the Jets and will return to his normal center spot between Landeskog and MacKinnon. Stastny returned to action Tuesday at Montreal after missing four games with a back injury, but he missed Wednesday's game after team doctors didn't want him to push him and have him play in back-to-back contests early on in his return to the lineup.
Barrie, a right-handed shot, will move to the Avalanche's third line this evening where Maxime Talbot will play at center and Cody McLeod will be at left wing. Talbot, a traditional center, has been playing on the wing for most of the season.
Colorado's other top scoring line will include Ryan O'Reilly, Matt Duchene and Jamie McGinn, while the fourth line will likely be Marc-Andre Cliche at center and Patrick Bordeleau and Brad Malone at the wings.
After scoring only five goals in last season's shortened 48-game campaign, Avs defensemen have rebounded quite nicely with 39 tallies this year. It's the most by Colorado rear guards since they notched 52 goals in 2005-06.
Barrie leads all Avalanche D-men with nine goals and has had a strong second half to his season. All but three of his 30 points this year have come since Dec. 16, and he ranks third on the team in plus/minus with a plus-14 rating.
AVALANCHE SPOTLIGHT ON: JAMIE McGINN
After a bit of a slow start, Jamie McGinn has found his scoring touch.
McGinn is on a career-long five-game point streak after he picked up an assist in the Avalanche's 5-4 overtime loss to Winnipeg on Wednesday night. He has three goals and four assists during this stretch, which is his longest since his four-game point streak from Dec. 11-17, 2011 as a member of San Jose Sharks.
Shots: 134 | Shoot %: 13.4
He has also added 15 assists to give him 33 points this year, which has already set a new career high.
"Playing with Ginner, he is a big body and gets to the net," O'Reilly said of McGinn. "You look at the goals he's scored or on other plays, he is always in front of the net either in front of the goalie or making room with a stick or an elbow. For Dutchy and myself, it's easy to play with a guy like that. He's smart with the puck and he opens a lot of room for us, especially for Dutchy. When Dutchy has the puck, the other team is on their heels, not sure what he is going to do, [McGinn] using his size gives him (Duchene) a lot more room, which he can take [advantage of]."
O'Reilly has six points (two goals, four assists) in his last five games and 16 points (five goals, 11 assists) since the Olympic break (12 games), while Duchene is currently on a three-game point streak (five assists) and has points in 12 of his last 13 contests (five goals, 14 assists).
MORE MORNING NOTES:
- Goaltender Semyon Varlamov will get the start in net for Colorado; his first outing since he made 36 saves in a 3-1 win at Ottawa on Sunday. He had the last two games completely off as he didn't dress Tuesday in Montreal or Wednesday in Winnipeg.
- Center John Mitchell is still day-to-day after suffering a back injury Tuesday against the Canadiens. Mitchell was trying to disrupt Lars Eller's shot, but got tangled with the Montreal player and hit the end boards hard with his back. Roy said there is no timetable for Mitchell's return to the lineup, and he could be out two days or 10 days.
- Roy said he is planning on using Jean-Sebastien Giguere instead of newly acquired Reto Berra as the backup goalie behind Semyon Varlamov in the playoffs. Roy said he is making his decision based on Giguere's previous playoff and Stanley Cup experience, and the veteran netminder's good relationship with Varlamov. Giguere has appeared in 52 career postseason games and has been to the Stanley Cup Final twice. He won the Conn Smythe Trophy as playoff MVP in 2003 and the Stanley Cup with the Anaheim Ducks in 2007.
- Colorado is 21-9-2 (44 points) since Dec. 31, tied with St. Louis for the second-most points during that stretch behind Boston (45 points, 21-6-3).
- With 94 points, the Avs are one point shy of equaling their highest point total since the 2004-05 lockout. Colorado recorded 95 points on four occasions over the last nine seasons (most recently in 2009-10).
- The Avalanche’s 44 wins are it's most since 2007-08 (44). The Avs tonight will attempt to reach the 45-win mark for the first time since 2001-02. Colorado's 44 victories are tied for it's most through 70 games in franchise history.
- The Bruins are making their first visit to Denver since Jan. 22, 2011, when they beat the Avs 6-2 at Pepsi Center. This year marks the first time that the Avs and the B's will meet more than once in a season since 2002-03. Colorado won the first matchup 2-0 on Oct. 10 in Boston.