DENVER — Canes defenseman Tim Gleason was on the ice today at the Pepsi Center for the morning skate but will not play tonight against the Avalanche.
"That's a real good sign for us, that hopefully it won't be a matter of weeks," coach Paul Maurice said of Gleason's upper-body injury. "It's day to day."
Jay Harrison replaces Gleason in the lineup after being a healthy scratch the last two games. Harrison, by the way, has the only goal by a Canes defenseman this season.
The surprising Avalanche, which leads the Northwest Division and Western Conference with a 6-1-2 record, is one of the NHL's best early season stories. The Avs have rookie centers Matt Duchene and Ryan O'Reilly, both 18, in the lineup yet picked up 10 of a possible 14 points in a recent seven-game road swing by going 4-1-2.
The Avs' start is the second-best for the team since it moved to Denver 14 years ago. The Stanley Cup champs in 2000-2001 opened 7-0-2.
First-year coach Joe Sacco was expected to give goaltender Peter Budaj his first start of the season and give Craig Anderson a day off, with the Avs facing the Detroit Red Wings on Saturday at the Pepsi Center.
But Budaj has flu-like symptoms, Sacco said today after Colorado's skate. Anderson will be back in net again.
"We saw him a few times last year," Maurice said. "He's a heckuva goalie.
"Honest, I never like seeing a backup. I'd rather see a team's number one guy ... unless it's Marty Brodeur."
Anderson, who was with the Florida Panthers last season, has these numbers: 2.06 goals-against average, .934 save percentage. That's pretty strong.
But the Canes' focus is on getting a first road victory — or simply a victory. Carolina has gone 0-2-2 since ripping Florida 7-2 on Oct. 9, dropping a 4-3 shootout to the New York Islanders on Wednesday.
"We're looking for wins," center Eric Staal said. "I thought our fight and our compete was better (against the Isles). It was a step and that's how you have to look at it. You can't mope and sulk, because that will make it worse."
While much is made of the mile-high altitude in Denver, forward Tuomo Ruutu said he doesn't consider it a factor in games. The Canes did get in a long practice Thursday afternoon at the Pepsi Center.
"I've never had a problem with it," Ruutu said.