Tonight, the Colorado Avalanche will faceoff against the Calgary Flames for the second time in a week, looking for a little revenge. Having lost 5-1 in Calgary Saturday afternoon, today’s game represents a big two-points in the fight for a Western Conference Wildcard spot.
Though they were beat handily on Saturday, the Avs are a completely different team at home. They will look to improve on their 20-7 record at the Pepsi Center. A regulation win will pull the Avalanche to a tie with the Flames - just one point out of a playoff spot.
On Monday night, Nathan MacKinnon once again showed that he is one of the best players in the NHL when he is playing on home ice. With two goals, the Avs superstar is now up to 69 points on the season - that puts him 3rd in the NHL behind only Nikita Kucherov and Evgeni Malkin.
With one of the best shutdown centers in the league on the opposing team, coach Bednar is going to have to use the last chance to keep MacKinnon’s line away from Mikael Backlund. If he can do that, the Avs should be able to generate more offense than we saw the last time these two teams met.
The Avs are going with the same lineup as they used against Vancouver (aside from Spencer Martin backing up Varly) so we will not see newly added defensman Mark Alt tonight.
From the injured group, Anton Lindholm will practice in full tomorrow as it looks like he’s almost ready to return to the lineup. Also, Sven Andrighetto and Vladislav Kamenev skated with the team for the first time in a long while today, which is a very good sign.
Gabriel Landeskog - Nathan MacKinnon - Mikko Rantanen
Tyson Jost - Alexander Kerfoot - Colin Wilson
Matt Nieto - Carl Soderberg - Blake Comeau
J.T. Compher - Dominic Toninato - Gabriel Bourque
Nikita Zadorov - Tyson Barrie
Samuel Girard - Patrik Nemeth
Duncan Siemens - David Warsofsky
Former Avalanche winger Chris Stewart is making another return to the Pepsi Center - this time with a brand new team. He adds size and a little bit of depth to the Flames top-9 forward group.
The 3M (Tkachuk, Frolik and Backlund) line was able to feast on their matchup Saturday night, so it will be up to the Avs coaching staff to use home ice advantage to prevent that from happening this time around.
Johnny Gaudreau - Sean Monahan - Chris Stewart
Matthew Tkachuk - Mikeal Backlund - Michael Frolik
Sam Bennett - Mark Jankowski - Garnet Hathaway
Troy Brouwer - Matt Stajan - Curtis Lazar
Mark Giordano - Dougie Hamilton
T.J. Brodie - Travis Hamonic
Brett Kulak - Michael Stone
Semyon Varlamov is going to be making his 8th consecutive start for the Avs. Varly is 16-13-3 on the season with a .912 sv%.
Despite Jon Gillies looking pretty good Saturday against the Avs, it looks like David Rittich will get the start tonight for the Flames. He is 6-4-3 on the season with a .902 sv%.