The Avalanche return to action tonight after a few days off following a pretty ugly win over the Pittsburgh Penguins. Defenseman Erik Johnson took a shot off the foot in practice on Wednesday and was described by Coach Roy as "doubtful" for the game, but ultimately will be a game time decision. Tyson Barrie would start in his place. According to Dater, he slotted in next to Jan Hejda in practice (who Patrick Roy praised the shit out of in his presser), so there's your likely pairing. Semyon Varlamov should start in the crease tonight.
Matt Duchene is scoring at a point a game pace with six goals and three assists. P.A. Parenteau and Nathan MacKinnon follow him with seven points each. Gabe Landeskog has three goals himself, one in each of the Avs' last three games (including the only goal against the Penguins).
Know Thine Enemy
Carolina took on the Minnesota Wild last night and lost 3-1, but more importantly for tonight, lost goaltender Cam Ward for a few weeks with a lower body injury. Justin Peters stepped in in his place, as Anton Khudobin is already out with an injury of his own. Hockey Bieber Jeff Skinner leads the way for the Canes in scoring, with 9 points in 9 games. Eric Staal is behind him with 7. (I can never remember whether he's Sporty Staal or Scary Staal.) Carolina are currently second in the unfortunately named (and also quite bad) Metropolitan division, with 11 points.
Skinner out and other Canes lineup things. The correct players, at least, are in the line projections but I have no idea what to make of the defense pairings so I stuck information from CC's preview in.
Barrie with Wilson per the Avalanche twitter account
O'Reilly - Duchene SLAP FIGHT!!!! + Downie
Landeskog - Stastny - Tanguay
McGinn - MacKinnon - Parenteau
Cliche - Mitchell - Bordeleau
Hejda - Guenin
Wilson - Barrie
Benoit - Sarich
Holden (healthy), Johnson (bruised foot), McLeod (feeling extended shame)
Bad Guys (maybe)
Jiri Tlusty - Eric Staal - Alex Semin
Nathan Gerbe - Jordan Staal - Radek Dvorak
Drayson Bowman - Riley Nash - Tuomo Ruutu
Brett Sutter - Elias Lindholm - Kevin Westgarth
Andrej Sekera - Justin Faulk
Mike Komisarek - Ron Hainsey
Ryan Murphy - Tim Gleason
AHL callup Mike Murphy
Carolina coverage available at Canes Country
TV: ALT, SPSO || 9:00 EDT || 7:00 MDT || 01:00 GMT