Peter Forsberg hasn't been back with Colorado for long, but the Avalanche has seen enough to know how important he is to their team.
The Avalanche hopes to have Forsberg back from injury on Tuesday when it visits the Atlanta Thrashers.
Forsberg missed Sunday's 3-0 loss to Dallas with a groin injury sustained the night before in Denver in the opener of a home-and-home series between the teams. Forsberg, who was listed as day-to-day, had two assists in Saturday's 3-1 win over the Stars, his first two points in three games since returning to the Avalanche (37-27-6).
The 34-year-old center, who helped the Avs win Stanley Cup titles in 1996 and 2001, re-signed with Colorado on Feb. 25, and the Avalanche won each of his first three games. Forsberg, who posted a career-best 116 points in 1995-96, had 13 goals and 42 assists in 57 games last season for Philadelphia and Nashville.
"You always want him out there," defenseman Kurt Sauer said.
The Avalanche could have used an offensive jolt from Forsberg on Sunday, as it was shut out for the sixth time this season, ending a season-best six-game winning streak. Colorado managed just one shot in the first period and 19 for the game.
The Avalanche outscored its opponents 15-8 during the club's winning streak.
"They came out hard and (Dallas goalie Marty) Turco made the saves when he had to, but at the same time, we didn't play our best game," Sauer said. "We've got to move the puck better and make smarter plays."
Jose Theodore allowed all three goals before being pulled after two periods, and the Avalanche had to play the final two without defensemen Jordan Leopold and Ruslan Salei. Leopold suffered a head injury that is likely not serious, but Salei's eye injury will cause him to miss this game and potentially several weeks.
Colorado will be trying for its first win over the Thrashers (30-32-8) since a 6-0 home victory on April 3, 2002. The Avalanche, 0-1-1 with one tie in the three meetings since then, has not won in Atlanta since a 4-2 victory on March 6, 2001.
The Thrashers are coming off Saturday's 3-2 overtime loss to Florida. Atlanta has earned a point in five of six games, going 1-1-4 over that span, but had dropped eight straight before a 3-2 shootout win over Minnesota on Friday.
Bryan Little and Ilya Kovalchuk scored power-play goals on Saturday, but Florida scored the game-winner with Kovalchuk in the penalty box.
"We played pretty good early, we battled hard, we had a couple chances late," Kovalchuk said. "It was just a bad penalty by me and they scored the game-winner."
Kari Lehtonen made 40 saves, but fell to 0-5-3 with a 4.03 goals-against average in his last eight starts. He has not won since a 3-2 shootout victory over Washington on Feb. 13.
"It's just frustrating," Lehtonen said. "I don't even remember when I won a game last. There's only so much you can take of this. I just need to battle and come back strong next game."