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Colorado Avalanche Game Day: Bring on McDavid

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The Avalanche return home to take on the Edmonton Oilers

NHL: Colorado Avalanche at Edmonton Oilers Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports

Tonight, the Colorado Avalanche return home to take on Connor McDavid - he’s really the only one that matter - in an attempt to bounce back from an ugly game Saturday night.

The rough loss in Tampa Bay makes it easy to forget that the Avs ended their four game road trip with a respectable 2-2 record.

Despite the drubbing at the hands of the Lightning, Colorado still sits tied with Nashville at the top of the Central Division. Despite their place in the standings, these are a huge two points as the Avs might end up battling Edmonton for a Wild Card position at the end of the season.

This game gives us the two fastest skaters in the NHL and three legitimate Art Ross Trophy contenders - the defenders on both sides need to be ready to skate.

The Oilers will be looking for revenge as the Avalanche won the first matchup between these two teams last month in Edmonton.


Colorado Avalanche

The Avs need a bounce back game in a big way. Things got out of hand quickly Saturday night and the team looked checked out for the second half. With another two day off, it will be important for the Avalanche to get a good game under their belt.

The Oilers defense is one that the Avalanche can use speed to take advantage of. It would be nice to see Alex Kerfoot moved back up the lineup (if he plays) in order to take advantage of this.

With Vladislav Kamenev heading to the IR thanks to shoulder surgery, the team has called up A.J. Greer from the Eagles. Greer’s 21 points through 20 games is second on then AHL team and he is likely to draw into the lineup, especially since Alex Kerfoot is banged up as well. Kerfoot will be a game time decision tonight.

Forwards

Gabriel Landeskog - Nathan MacKinnon - Mikko Rantanen

Tyson Jost - J.T. Compher - Colin Wilson

Matt Nieto - Carl Soderberg - Matt Calvert

A.J. Greer- Alexander Kerfoot - Gabriel Bourque

Defense

Samuel Girard - Erik Johnson

Ian Cole - Tyson Barrie

Nikita Zadorov - Patrik Nemeth


Edmonton Oilers

The Oilers come into the game having won three straight and seven of their last 10. They’ve been playing a lot better lately and most will attribute it to the coaching change. Really, the only major move Ken Hitchcock has made to improve the team is playing Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl more. The two are back together and seeing their ice time go through the roof.

Under Hitchcock, McDavid’s ice time has gone up to nearly 25 minutes a game and he is quickly catching up to Sasha Barkov as the forward with the most TOI/G.

Forwards

some guy - Connor McDavid - Leon Draisaitl

some guy - some guy - some guy

some guy - some guy - some guy

trash can - some guy - some guy

Defense

some guy - some guy

some guy - the guy they got for Taylor Hall

some guy - some guy


Starting Goalies

Since the coaching change, Edmonton has changed the way they split the playing time for their goalies. Ken Hitchcock has begun to rely less on Cam Talbot and is going with rookie Mikko Koskinen far more frequently. That will be the case tonight as the Avs will get their first look at Koskinen. He comes into the game with a 9-3-1 record and a very impressive .929 sv%.

For the Avs, Semyon Varlamov is going to get the opportunity to bounce back from a rough performance Saturday night.