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Colorado Avalanche Gameday: Last leg of the Metropolitan Tour

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The Avalanche finish their 4 game road-trip with a tilt against the Philadelphia Flyers

NHL: Colorado Avalanche at Philadelphia Flyers Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

The worst the Colorado Avalanche could do is come back home with five out of eight points on the week-long, four-game road trip. That’s a respectable record no matter who you are. But for this year’s Avalanche team, that’s viewed as only sub-par. Fortunately, the Avalanche have the opportunity to come back to Denver only missing a point which will help keep pace in the all-powerful central division.

The Avalanche are one of five teams that have only one loss in regulation this season and are currently sitting second overall in the league and in the division. Much of that success comes from the first line who have accounted for 17 of the 29 goals scored this season. Secondary scoring has always been an added bonus if you have Gabriel Landeskog, Nathan MacKinnon, and Mikko Rantanen scoring a little over two goals a game but at some point it will have to come else where.

It was only seven games ago that these two teams met on Pepsi Center ice with the Avalanche taking home the victory by a score of 5-2. Colorado will look to sweep the Flyers for the first time since 1998 (minimum two games).


Colorado Avalanche

It’s safe to say that Gabriel Landeskog has been on a tear as of late. With six goals and two assists in the last five games, the captain has taken control of games when it’s needed most. He ended up with the game winner against New Jersey when the game was tied late in the third and also scored the game-tying and game-winning goal in Carolina on Saturday morning. The top line should continue their scoring ways tonight as Philadelphia gives up on average 3.44 goals against per 60 minutes of play.

Although the scoring has yet to come from the second line, their two-way play has been one of bright spots not often found on the score sheet. All three skaters - Alexander Kerfoot, Colin Wilson, and Tyson Jost - have a CF% over 50. In fact, advanced statistics would make an argument for the second line outperforming the first in many categorys. But that’s the beauty in having the most dangerous line in hockey - anything can happen at any moment.

J.T. Compher is still out with a head injury so Vladislav Kamenev will continue filling in fourth line duties with Ghetto and Bourque. He’s been given more opportunities on the penalty kill and second power play unit and so far has shown he can handle the work load. Having a guy like that on the fourth line which can play all facets of the game really shows the depth and progression the Avalanche have compiled since Roy’s departure.

The only other thing to add on the Avalanche side of things is this could be Marko Dano’s first game in an Avs sweater. He was listed on the official roster prior to the Carolina game but didn’t dress. He’s required to stay on the Avalanche roster for 30 days so it wouldn’t come as a surprise if he drew into the lineup sooner rather than later to see who they got. He would more than likely slide into Bourque’s spot on the fourth line. Andrighetto, Kamenev, and Dano has all the makings for a speedy and intriguing line.

No changes expected on the blue line as all three pairs have played exceptionally well on the road trip.

*Updated lines as of 12:10pm*

Marko Dano draws into the lineup with Tyson Jost and Gabriel Bourque on the fourth line. It’s a little surprising that Kamenev gets the healthy scratch here considering Kam has played so well in the last few games but Coach Bednar loves him some Gabriel Bourque.

Ghetto jumps onto the second line with hopes of kick starting the offense. He had some success last season playing with Kerfoot and now with a veteran winger in Wilson the line has some serious potential.

Forwards

Gabriel Landeskog - Nathan MacKinnon - Mikko Rantanen

Sven Andrighetto - Alexander Kerfoot - Colin Wilson

Matt Nieto - Carl Soderberg - Matt Calvert

Marko Dano - Tyson Jost - Gabriel Bourque

Vladislav Kamenev

Defense

Samuel Girard - Erik Johnson

Ian Cole - Tyson Barrie

Patrik Nemeth - Nikita Zadorov

Mark Barberio


Philadelphia Flyers

The Flyers are coming off a win at home against the New Jersey Devils and are looking for consecutive wins for the first time this season.

Similar to the Avalanche top line, the Flyers get most of their scoring from the Giroux, Couturier, Simmonds line. Claude Giroux and Jakub Voracek lead the Flyers with 11 points each and Wayne Simmonds leads the team in goals with six.

Nolan Patrick returned from injury and immediately paid dividends with a goal against the Devils on Saturday night. The second overall pick in the 2017 draft has yet to bust out to be a key contributor for the Flyers but the skill set is there and has been given the opportunity playing on a line with Jakub Voracek. Last season, Patrick ended up with 30 points (13g, 17a) in 73 games.

Philadelphia began the year pairing Ivan Provorov and Shayne Gostisbehere on the first unit but with 33 goals given up in eight games, last only to the Detroit Red Wings with 36, Dave Hakstol has made some changes prior to the game tonight. Provorov will play with Robert Hagg who leads the defensive core in points with five and Gostisbehere will pair with Christian Folin on the second unit.

Forwards

Claude Giroux - Sean Couturier - Wayne Simmonds

Scott Laughton - Nolan Patrick - Jakub Voracek

Oskar Lindblom - Jordan Weal - Travis Konecny

Michael Raffl - Jori Lehtera - Dale Weise

Defense

Ivan Provorov - Robert Hagg

Shayne Gostisbehere - Christian Folin

Travis Sanheim - Radko Gudas


Starting Goaltenders

Philipp Grubauer has strung together consecutive wins and looked lights-out against the Hurricanes. Unfortunately, Grubauer doesn’t have the best track record against the Flyers as of late losing two games last season while he was with the Capitals. Semyon Varlamov however, has won both of his last two meetings against the Flyers and will most likely get the nod tonight. He’s posted a 1.77 GAA and .948 SV% so far this year.

Although neither of the goaltenders have been announced at the time of writing this, the Avalanche can expect Brian Elliott to be between the pipes on the other side of the ice. Elliott currently holds a 2-3 record with a 3.69 GAA and .878 SV% for the Flyers this year. Newly acquired and ex-Av favorite, Calvin Pickard might be given the opportunity here seeing that it’s against his former club but it’s too early in the season for coaches to be making decisions based on emotional merit.

*Updated lines as of 12:10pm*

Both Semyon Varlamov and Brian Elliott will start tonight.