Looking at the picture above gives you an idea of how long ago these two teams last played. Apart from the aforementioned 2010 game where the Avs bested the Sens 6-5 in OT, the only other recent game between the two teams came very early on in the 2011 season in the form of the 7-1 COL blowout of Anderson. It was our 4th game of the season, and the bright and shiny rookie Gabe Landeskog had just scored his first NHL goal the night before. Joakim Lidstrom had two goals in the game. Hejduk, Landeskog, Duchene, Winnik, and Jones also scored. Yeah... it's been a while.
These two clubs have not played each other in 27 months, and it will be only the 2nd time Andy's faced the team that traded him in February, 2011.
The Sens (19-18-9, 6th in the Atlantic Division) are on a bit of a hot streak at the moment. They're won their last four, beating the Habs, Jets, Caps, and Bruins the second time since the Bs had shut them out the night before. They're 6-3-1 in their last 10, and sit at 45pts in 44GP. That's good for 11th in the Division, but since the East is less than outstanding, that's only 2 points (with the GP tiebreaker taken into account) from being back in 8th. Freakin' Eastern Conference, man.
As noted in the tweet above, RW Chris Neil will not play due to a lower body injury, but captain C Jason Spezza will be returning to the lineup after missing 4 games with a hip injury. He has 11 goals and 19 assists in 39 games, so the team should be happy to have him back, if only for his giggle fits in the locker room.
Erik Karlsson leads the team with 10G / 29A / 39pts in 44 GP, and NOT GOOD ENOUGH FOR TEAM USA Bobby Ryan comes in second with 18G / 18A / 36pts in 44GP. Maybe he and EJ can bitch about being snubbed together. "Get Me Out of Phoenix" Kyle Turris sits 3rd with 10G / 22A / 32pts in 43GP, and Clarke MacArthur has 31 points already. Yeah, that's the player the Leafs let go to FA. I'm sure their fans are happy about that. Spezza rounds out the top 5.
The Avs will be trying very hard to forget last game against Calgary. They didn't play well, Jiggy didn't bail them out / give them a chance to win depending on how one looks at it, and all around it was downright embarrassing. Giving up 4 goals to a team that had scored 1 in their previous 4 games is not really okay. Like I said, the Avs need a good bounceback game after that disaster.
However, that's been the only big blackmark of late. Tonight marks the 6th game in a 7 game homestand for the Avs. They've gone 3-1-1 for 7 points so far and would love to make it 9 tonight. They've also fared very well against the Eastern Conference, so with any luck, that 10-3-0 record continues to improve.
Varly is likely in net tonight even though it's not yet confirmed. O'Reilly is day-to-day because he jammed his shoulder celebrating a goal last game (which I still can't believe happened), so Van der Guilk might be in the lineup instead. He was called up from Lake Erie yesterday. Also, Ryan Wilson was assigned to a conditioning stint down in the minors, and Guenin's day-to-day with an ankle injury. Barrie and Holden will be playing as a result. Tanguay has begun skating again but is still a far ways out from rejoining the team, and Parenteau is gone with a knee injury for a while.
Gabriel Landeskog - Paul Stastny - Ryan O`Reilly (maybe)
Max Talbot - Matt Duchene - Jamie McGinn
Cody McLeod - John Mitchell - Nathan MacKinnon
Patrick Bordeleau - Marc Andre Cliche - Brad Malone
Jan Hejda - Erik Johnson
Andre Benoit - Cory Sarich
Tyson Barrie - Nick Holden
MacArthur - Turris - Ryan
Greening - Smith - Condra
Conacher - Zibanejad - Michalek
Kassian - Pageau - Stone
Cowen - Karlsson
Methot - Ceci
Phillips - Gryba
7:30 MT at the Pepsi Center. Broadcast will be on Altitude for the Avs and Sportsnet-East and TVA (French) for the Sens.
Ryan O'Reilly (shoulder) and Nate Guenin (ankle) will not play tonight vs. Ottawa. Both are still listed day to day.— Colorado Avalanche (@Avalanche) January 8, 2014
MacKinnon-Duchene-McGinn Landeskog-Stastny-Mitchell McLeod-Cliche-Talbot Malone-DVDG-Bordeleau Roy's lines tonight— Ryan Boulding (@rboulding) January 8, 2014