The Colorado Avalanche have pushed their winning streak to double digits. This is not a drill. The team that just last season, set a record for the fewest points in the modern NHL has now won ten straight games and show no signs of slowing down.
Despite an ice storm, the Avs made it into Montreal late last night and will be looking to get another two points against a Canadiens team that has been struggling lately. With only three wins in their last 12 games and a terrible 6-13-2 record against the Western Conference, the Habs look like the perfect team to help the Avalanche take the winning streak to eleven. That said, playing back-to-back is never easy, especially when you’re going up against a guy who can steal the game on any night like Carey Price.
They’re going to be a tired group tonight, but hopefully, the Avs can draw a little inspiration from the great Nigel Tufnel and put another notch in the win column.
“If we need that little push over the cliff, you know what we do?”
“Put it up to 11”
Last night was a great team effort. Nathan MacKinnon had his point streak stopped at nine games, but it was the secondary guys that were able to carry the load. Any game that you get a goal out of both Gabriel Bourque and Blake Comeau is a good night.
The line of Bourque, Tyson Jost, and J. T. Compher looks great as a secondary offensive option. The trio was fast, explosive, and looked like a line that can do some serious damage together.
Though they didn't score until the empty net - an incredibly rare occurrence these days, coach Bednar proved for the second game in a row that he wants his top line on the ice late in the game, protecting a lead. MacKinnon, Gabriel Landeskog, and Mikko Rantanen have turned into the go-to when it comes to late-game faceoffs in the Avs zone. Something you rarely see from a line that is usually lauded for their offensive ability.
There won’t be a game-day skate today, so we might not get any lineup news until this evening but Tyson Barrie and Semyon Varlamov still haven't been cleared for game action.
Gabriel Landeskog - Nathan MacKinnon - Mikko Rantanen
Matt Nieto - Carl Soderberg - Blake Comeau
Gabriel Bourque - Tyson Jost - J.T. Compher
Dominic Toninato - Alexander Kerfoot - Nail Yakupov
Nikita Zadorov - Erik Johnson
Samuel Girard - Mark Barberio
Patrik Nemeth - Anton Lindholm
A team that came into the year with aspirations of contending for the top spot in the Atlantic Division, the Habs have struggled mightily - particularly on offense. The addition of Jonathan Drouin hasn’t helped the way GM Marc Bergevin had hoped. Only the Buffalo Sabres and Arizona Coyotes have scored fewer goals than the Canadiens this season.
The search for talented centers is dire for the Habs - so dire that they have Paul Byron playing in their top-6.
Max Pacioretty has come to life as of late. Amid trade rumors, Montreal’s captain has seven goals in his last seven games.
This is a team playing for the trade deadline right now. Apparently nothing - aside from Carey Price - is off the table, so it’s probably no coincidence that Joe Sakic and his front office will be in the building to catch the game in person.
Injuries: Shea Weber remains out
Max Pacioretty - Paul Byron - Charles Hudon
Alex Galchenyuk - Jonathan Drouin - Nicolas Deslauriers
Artturi Lehkonen - Tomas Plekanec - Brendan Gallagher
Jacob de la Rose - Byron Froese - Logan Shaw
Karl Alzner - Jeff Petry
Jordie Benn - Jakub Jerabek
Victor Mete - David Schlemko
We don’t know for sure yet, but the odds are very high that Jonathan Bernier gets his second start in as many nights. He was strong against last night and is riding a personal 9 game win streak so it’s not likely that we see him between the pipes again tonight, with Andrew Hammond backing him up.
With the hot streak, Bernier is up to 14-7-1 on the season with a .920 sv%.
Across the ice, we are likely to see Carey Price. Though he’s having a down season, Price is still one of the most talented goalies in the NHL and is always a threat to shut the door. He has a 13-16-4 record this season with a .908 sv%.
How to watch
Tonight’s game will be back on Altitude at 5:30 MST, and can be seen in Canada on TSN2. For the French-speaking Avs fans out there, the game will also be broadcast on RDS.