Patrick Roy is not going to wear out his top goalie down the stretch, even if the Avalanche continues to fight it out with the Chicago Blackhawks for home-ice advantage in the first round of the playoffs.
That was the news after the Avs' morning skate Thursday, as they prepared to play the New York Rangers at the Pepsi Center (7 p.m., Altitude).
Roy, whose team has a three-point lead on Chicago with one game in hand, said his two backups will get at least one start each in the team's final six games. Semyon Varlamov will start Thursday's contest and the next two games, but J.S. Giguere will start at Edmonton next week and Reto Berra will start in San Jose the next game.
Roy said he was unsure who will start the final game of the regular season, next weekend in Anaheim.
Against the Rangers, the Avs will use rookie Nathan MacKinnon at right wing on a line with Paul Stastny and Gabe Landeskog. John Mitchell will center the second line with Ryan O'Reilly and Jamie McGinn. Max Talbot will be the new third-line center, with Cody McLeod and Patrick Bordeleau.
"We've built a lot of chemistry as a line," MacKinnon said of his previous stints with Stastny and Landeskog. "Mitch will do a good job centering that line I think, and we just have to keep going as a team even with (Matt Duchene) out."