The Colorado Avalanche head to Vancouver in the third game of their western Canadian road trip. Having split the games in Winnipeg and Vancouver, the Avalanche will look to get back in the win column as they continue to deal with a long list of injuries.
In Cale Makar and Quinn Hughes, these two teams feature two of the most exciting young defenders in the NHL. Both are having tremendous rookie seasons and are showing the league why many predict them both to be Norris Trophy winners in the future.
Despite out-shooting the Oilers Thursday night, the Avs were unable to stop Connor McDavid. The superstar got a point on each of Edmonton’s six goals. Andre Burakovsky scored two of his own, unfortunately, he was the only Avalanche player to find the back of the net.
Nathan MacKinnon and Cale Makar were both held off the score sheet for the first time in a while. It was the first time all season that both went without a point in the same game. Unfortunately, with all the injuries, it appears as though the stars that remain in the lineup are going to have to stay hot - otherwise the Avs are going to have trouble winning games.
With Mikko Rantanen and Gabriel Landeskog still out of the lineup, it’s important that guys like Burakovsky, Nazem Kadri and Joonas Donskoi score on a more regular basis than they have been.
Joonas Donskoi - Nathan MacKinnon - Matt Calvert
Valeri Nichushkin - Nazem Kadri - J.T. Compher
Matt Nieto - Tyson Jost - Andre Burakovsky
Jayson Megna - Vladislav Kamenev - T.J. Tynan
Samuel Girard - Erik Johnson
Ryan Graves - Cale Makar
Ian Cole - Mark Barberio
Update: Tyson Jost will miss the game with an upper-body injury. Jayson Megna will draw in for him, per team.
After a good start to the season, the Canucks head into Saturday night’s game having lost five of their last six outings. Elias Pettersson leads the team with 24 points through 20 games, but the big story - from an offensive perspective - is the emergence of J.T. Miller. After being acquired in a trade with Tampa Bay of the summer, Miller’s 19 points puts him on pace to blow past the 47 he put up last season.
On the blue line, Alex Edler is healthy for the first time in a long while and is playing very well alongside Tyler Myers. Despite giving up the 10th most shots in the league, their 54 goals against are the third fewest in the Western Conference. Thatcher Demko and Jacob Markstrom have been able to hide a lot of flaws in a leaky defense.
Josh Leivo - Elias Pettersson - Bock Boeser
Tanner Pearson - Bo Horvat - Jake Virtanen
Sven Baertschi - Adam Gaudette - J.T. Miller
Tim Schaller - Tyler Graovac - Loui Eriksson
Alex Edler - Tyler Myers
Quinn Hughes - Chris Tanev
Jodri Benn - Troy Stecher
For the Canucks, we are likely to see Jacob Markstrom between the pipes. The 29-year old comes into the game with a 5-5-3 record and a .914 sv%.
Despite Philipp Grubauer getting close to returning, it sounds as though we’re going to get Adam Werner in next for the Avs for at least one more game. After an incredible NHL debut in Winnipeg, he came crashing back to earth Thursday night letting in five goals on only 18 shots in a little under a period and a half of play.
Update: Per team, Antoine Bibeau will get the nod for the Avalanche for his first NHL start since the 2016-17 season.
Drafted 172nd overall by the Toronto Maple Leafs in 2013, Bibeau was one of Toronto’s most intriguing goaltending prospects before getting edged out as their de facto AHL starter by Garret Sparks. He was eventually released as a free agent and signed with the San Jose Sharks, where he played in the AHL for the San Jose Barracuda for the 2017-18 and 2018-19 season before being dealt to Colorado this offseason.
Bibeau’s size — he’s listed at a whopping 6-foot-3 and 205 lbs — was a significant factor in Toronto’s intrigue in his game, but the real thing to keep an eye on during his Avalanche starting debut will be how well his work with goaltending physical trainer Adam Francilia while with the Sharks has improved his biomechanics and efficiency. He stopped 9 of 10 shots faced in relief for Werner during the game against Edmonton on Thursday.