Let’s keep things rolling, shall we?
Tonight, the Colorado Avalanche hit the road for the first time in hopes for remaining undefeated on the season. After impressive wins over the Flyers and Wild, the Avs head to Columbus to take on the 1-1 Blue Jackets.
Two of Colorado’s three major acquisitions this summer - Ian Cole and Matt Calvert - are returning to play their former team for the first time so look for them to have a little extra pep in their step.
It’s still really early in the season, but setting the tone with a good performance on the road will be huge - especially for a team that wasn’t very good away from the Pepsi Center last year.
The Avalanche have looked great through the first to games of the year. The top line looks as dangerous as ever, the newly minted second line of Jost, Kerfoot and Wilson has looked great at both ends of the ice, and the team is playing a much more sound defensive game than we saw a year ago.
The middle-6 will need to be good tonight. Last season, we saw the team’s play drop off on the road because Bednar was unable to get the top line away from tough matchups.
On the blueline, the coaches seem ready to lean on Sam Girard and he has looked up for the task. Along with Erik Johnson, Girard has been able to anchor a blueline that looks like it could be one of the best in the Western Conference.
It’s going to be a big night for Matt Calvert. The 28-year old played 416 of his 418 career NHL games in a Blue Jackets uniform. Now he heads back to Columbus to get ready in the visitor’s locker room for the first time. It’s got to be a crazy feeling. A long-time fan favorite in Columbus, Calvert is expected to get a video tribute at some point during tonight’s game.
Both Landeskog and Patrik Nemeth took part in the morning skate with full contact. Landy is going to go, but Nemeth will remain out of the lineup. Coach Bednar expects him to be ready to go for Thursday.
Vladislav Kamanev will be watching from the press box tonight as Sheldon Dries will remain in the lineup.
Gabriel Landeskog - Nathan MacKinnon - Mikko Rantanen
Alex Kerfoot - Tyson Jost - Colin Wilson
Matt Nieto - Carl Soderberg - Gabriel Bourque
Sheldon Dries - J.T. Compher - Matt Calvert
Sam Girard - Erik Johnson
Nikita Zadorov - Tyson Barrie
Ian Cole - Mark Barberio
Alison Lukan covers the Columbus Blue Jackets for The Athletic. This is what he had to say about the team coming in with a 1-1 record:
“The Blue Jackets come into game three looking to manage against some key injuries. Seth Jones remains out for the next few weeks due to a knee injury, and C Brandon Dubinsky, who was making his best case for a bounce back year, went down this weekend with an oblique injury and is expected to miss 4-6 weeks. Both injuries obviously affect lineups on either side of the ice. Columbus will bring in Lukas Sedlak on the fourth line while Riley Nash moves up to the third in an offense still trying to get all four lines rolling. D Scott Harrington returns to the lineup after missing time due to a concussion suffered in the preseason.”
Artemi Panarin - Pierre-Luc Dubois - Cam Atkinson
Nick Foligno - Alex Wennberg - Anthony Duclair
Boone Jenner - Riley Nash - Josh Anderson
Sonny Milano - Lukas Sedlak - Oliver Bjorkstrand
Zach Werenski - David Savard
Ryan Murray - Marcus Nutivaara
Scott Harrington - Adam Clendening
The Avalanche are going to give us a look at their shiny new toy as Philipp Grubauer will make his first start of the season. Playing for the Stanley Cup Champion Washington Capitals last year, Grubauer finished with a 15-10-3 record and a .923 sv%.
For the Jackets we are likely to see Sergei Bobrovsky. The star netminder comes into the game having lost his only start so far this season having stopped 32 of the 35 shots he faced.
How to watch
Gotta love those early starts right? Right?
The game will be on Altitude at 5pm MT.