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Colorado Avalanche Game Day: Mikko Rantanen returns against St. Louis Blues

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The Avs kick off a three-in-four road trip in St. Louis

St Louis Blues v Colorado Avalanche
Mikko Rantanen #96 of the Colorado Avalanche stands in front of goaltender Carter Hutton #40 of the St. Louis Blues at the Pepsi Center on October 19, 2017 in Denver, Colorado.
Photo by Michael Martin/NHLI via Getty Images

The Colorado Avalanche begin a rough stretch of three road games in four nights including a back-to-back on Saturday and Sunday.

After giving up three goals to the Winnipeg Jets last Saturday, Semyon Varlamov will be sitting on the bench watching Jonathan Bernier play in net for the Avalanche for the second time in as many games. This will be Jonathan Bernier’s 27th strart of the season, officially passing Varlamov for the most starts on the team.

Working in St. Louis’ favor is that Colorado has dropped their last four games in a row while facing St. Louis on the road. That record includes two games from the season-who-must-not-be-named, a close 4-3 victory by the Blues in October, and a 3-1 loss exactly two weeks ago.


Colorado Avalanche

Nathan MacKinnon will miss his fourth straight game after playing only 11:44 in a 4-3 overtime loss to the Vancouver Canucks. Rookie Alex Kerfoot has done his best to fill the colossal shoes left by MacKinnon but has only been able to record 1 shot and zero points in the three games as the pivot for captain Gabriel Landeskog. The two might recieve some cavalry with the news that Mikko Rantanen in a regular jersey at this morning’s skate in St. Louis.

Colin Wilson, who has been the right winger on that top line will most likely slot into the third-line left wing spot, pushing Yakupov down to the fourth line, and pushing AJ Greer out of the lineup.

The defense will be the same.

Projected Lineup:

Gabriel Landeskog - Alexander Kerfoot - Mikko Rantanen

Matt Nieto - Carl Soderberg - Blake Comeau

Colin Wilson - J.T. Compher - Tyson Jost

Gabriel Bourque - Dominic Toninato - Nail Yakupov

Nikita Zadorov - Erik Johnson

Anton Lindholm - Tyson Barrie

Samuel Girard - Patrik Nemeth

Bernier


St. Louis Blues

The Blues are coming off a 6-2 loss to the Minnesota Wild and now sit five points ahead of the Avalanche in the Central Division standings. The Avalanche have three games in hand.

Since the last time these two teams have met, the Blues have gone 2-2-0 but have not looked dominant in any of those matches. Their two wins came against league bottom-feeders in Montreal and Buffalo, a 3-1 win at home and 1-0 win on the road, respectively.

Projected Lineup:


Starting goalies

Bednar confirmed that Jonathan Bernier would get the net tonight against the Blues. Bernier has a .919 save percentage this season, good for 15th among goalies. Bernier has won two in a row, including a splendid one goal, 38 save performance against the Sharks two days ago. Varlamov will most likely get a game in over the weekend back-to-back, but it’s Bernier net right now.

Carter Hutton was pulled after giving up five goals on eight shots in the first period against the Wild but he has started in nine of the Blues’ last ten games and is starting again in this contexst so he still appears to have taken over as the starter. Hutton has bee nthe best goaltender in the league this season, with a league leading .943 save percentage in 24 appearances.


How to watch

The puck is scheduled to drop at 6 p.m. MT and the contest will be televised on Altitude. The radio broadcast can be heard on Altitude Sports Radio AM 950 or online at ColoradoAvalanche.com.