Welcome back, Colorado Avalanche fans! We missed you. But before we get back to hockey, we should probably do some stretches. You know, just to loosen up our muscles after that long break.
Colorado is five points clear of Dallas and only two back of Nashville!
Mikko Rantanen leads the league in scoring with 59 points (16g, 43a) in 37 games, putting him on pace for 131!
Nathan MacKinnon was named the Central Division’s captain for the 2019 All-Star Game!
That was fun! Now, as they say in hockey, let’s do that hockey!
The Avalanche made a number of roster moves with the AHL Colorado Eagles this morning, as the team heads into the next leg of the season.
First off, Semyon Varlamov is healthy again and ready to start, so goaltender Pavel Francouz has been sent back down to the Eagles. In his half-game with the Avalanche last week, Francouz stopped 22 of 23 shots, taking the loss against the Arizona Coyotes.
On defense, the Avs have swapped 24-year-old LD Anton Lindholm with 23-year-old LD Ryan Graves. Lindholm was okay in his two games with the Avs, but not great, so the Avs have swapped him and Graves for a different look. And by different look, I mean that Ryan Graves is 6’5”, 227lbs.
At forward, winger A.J. Greer is going back to the Eagles, but no forwards have been called up in response. The Avalanche are running with 12 forwards on their roster, so either Colin Wilson is on his way back from injury, or the Avs are just comfortable with the 12 guys they have.
Grubauer gets the start tonight. Lindholm is replaced in the lineup by Graves. Zadorov skated yesterday and "it did not go well", Bednar says he remains day to day but it doesnt sound good.— AJ Haefele (@AJHaefele) December 27, 2018
Lines 2 and 4:
Jost Kerfoot Compher
Andrighetto Dries Bourque
Gabriel Landeskog - Nathan MacKinnon - Mikko Rantanen
Tyson Jost - Alexander Kerfoot - J.T. Compher
Matt Nieto - Carl Soderberg - Matt Calvert
Sven Andrighetto - Sheldon Dries - Gabriel Bourque
Samuel Girard - Erik Johnson
Ian Cole - Tyson Barrie
Nikita Zadorov* - Patrik Nemeth
*Graves in if Zadorov cannot play.
The big lineup story surrounding the Golden Knights is the status of Max Pacioretty. The former Canadiens winger hasn’t played since December 17th, and is still on the injured reserve as of today. Former Cy Young award winner Brandon Pirri is up with the Golden Knights, and will play tonight.
The Knights are coming off back-to-back 4-3 overtime losses to both the Los Angeles Kings and Montreal Canadiens, so a nice 4-3 OT win tonight would be really funny. Consider it my late Christmas present.
Jonathan Marchessault - William Karlsson - Reilly Smith
Brandon Pirri - Paul Stastny - Alex Tuch
Oscar Lindberg - Cody Eakin - Tomas Nosek
William Carrier - Pierre-Edouard Bellemare - Ryan Reaves (eep)
Brayden McNabb - Nate Schmidt (dope)
Shea Theodore - Deryk Engelland
Jon Merrill - Nick Holden
Semyon Varlamov is happy and healthy and will be starting in net for the Colorado Avalanche tonight. Varly has a .913 save percentage in 23 starts (11-8-3), including a shutout.
On the other side of the rink, Marc-Andre Fleury will be in net for the Golden Knights. Flower has 20-10-4 record in 34 starts for his team, posting a .906 save percentage in that time.
Philipp Grubauer starts for the Avalanche, Varlamov backs him up.