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Avs Will Face Jets Without Landeskog

The forward was suspended four games on Monday afternoon

by Callie Parmele / ColoradoAvalanche.com

The Colorado Avalanche will continue its five-game homestand on Wednesday against the Winnipeg Jets without team captain Gabriel Landeskog.

The NHL's Department of Player Safety announced on Monday that Landeskog has been suspended for four games for cross-checking Matthew Tkachuk in the Avs' game against the Calgary Flames on Saturday.

"I don't ever go out there to try to hurt anybody," Landeskog said of the incident following Tuesday's practice. "I would never go out there to make a play to try to put somebody out of a lineup or anything like that. I play hard and I play a physical style of play, but I would never go out there to hurt anybody. It is what it is at this point. Like I said, I am mostly just disappointed in myself and frustrated with myself. At some point you got to learn, and that's what I got to do now."

The 25-year-old will miss games against the Winnipeg Jets, the New Jersey Devils, the Dallas Stars and the Buffalo Sabres before being eligible to return on Dec. 7 at the Tampa Bay Lightning.

"It is an expensive mistake, and it's disappointing because we have done a good job of putting ourselves into a good position here," said Landeskog. "I feel like as a line and as a team we have been playing pretty good. I know the boys are going to do a good job of making a stand here on the homestand."

Video: Gabriel Landeskog discusses his suspension

With him out of the lineup, Avalanche head coach Jared Bednar has inserted Sven Andrighetto onto the Nathan MacKinnon centered line with Mikko Rantanen.

"Loosing Landy hurts, he is our top minute guy up front," said Bednar. "He plays both special teams and a lot of 5-on-5 minutes on our top line. So, we are going to have to have some of the other guys step up and pick up some of the slack."

Andrighetto played with MacKinnon and Rantanen after he was acquired from the Montreal Canadiens last season and at the start of the 2017-18 campaign. The trio was split up to put Landeskog on the line before the Avs' 6-3 win over the Chicago Blackhawks on Oct. 28.

"I think it's a real good opportunity for him," Bednar said of Andrighetto. "He is going to jump into the top line for tomorrow night, and he is getting back on the power play. We should have a hungry player there, and we got to get the job done. We will have to get the job done without Landy."

The Avalanche spent the majority of the 35-minute practice focusing on special teams, emphasizing both the power-play and penalty-kills units.

"Yesterday, we were working on our forecheck battles as usual, and today was more of special teams," said forward Nail Yakupov. "I think obviously you are learning every day and you want to get better every day, but I think our key is special team. It's going to change the game, for sure. We had a lot of chances on the power play and we can't score, and sometimes we can hang in the zone. So, we worked on it today, and I think it got better. We actually played a lot today, and we know what we are doing and we just have to keep continuing that tomorrow."

Video: Nail Yakupov after the Avs' practice

The Avalanche finished 1-for-3 on the power play against the Flames on Saturday and is 11-for-39 with the man advantage at home this season, fifth best in the league. Colorado also ranks fourth in the league in home penalty-kill, having only given up three goals in 31 shorthanded situations as the home team.

The Jets are coming off a 7-2 win over the Minnesota Wild and scored twice on the power-play in that contest. This season, Winnipeg has gone 9-for-43 with the man advantage as the road team, which ranks 11th in the league.

"We know it's going to be a tough game, the Jets are one of the top teams in the league right now," Yakupov said. "I know they have some big bodies, and they have skilled guys too. It's going to be a hard battle tomorrow but good thing we play at home. I think it will be easier with our fans, and I think the next game and another three games are really important. We have to take the maximum points we can get. We will see what happens, and we just have to go there and enjoy the game."

A quarter of the way into the season, the standings in the West, especially the Central Division, are tight and every point matters. Every team in Colorado's division has a winning record and is within two points of a playoff spot.

The Jets are second in the Central with a 15-6-3 record and 33 points.

"We have talked a little bit about that in the past," Bednar said of the significance of each outing. "Every game you kind of look at with what the standings are, the way they are in our division, every game is a big game. Certainly, we like to have a good homestand here."

Colorado is 7-2-1 as the home team this season and will look to continue its success at Pepsi Center on Wednesday.

Video: Coach Jared Bednar on Gabe Landeskog's suspension

MIXING UP THE LINEUP

On Tuesday afternoon, the Colorado Avalanche announced that defenseman Anton Lindholm was activated from injured reserve and fellow rear guard Duncan Siemens was recalled from the San Antonio Rampage of the American Hockey League. Blueliners Andrei Mironov and Chris Bigras were reassigned to San Antonio.

Lindholm will return to the lineup against the Winnipeg Jets on Wednesday on a pairing with Tyson Barrie.

"Lindholm is coming in," Avalanche head coach Jared Bednar said after practice. "Lindholm will come in and play with Barrie. [Mark Barberio] is with [Nikita Zadorov]. So [Lindholm] will go in for Mironov. [Semyon Varlamov] will be back in the net."

Lindholm has been on injured reserve since he broke his jaw during the Avs' contest at the Philadelphia Flyers on Nov 4.

Siemens has one goal and two assists in 20 games played with the Rampage this season and is expected to join the team on Wednesday.

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