With an injury list that’s more akin to one of those laughably long, roll-across-the-floor ancient scrolls, the Colorado Avalanche — or, rather, what healthy members remain of it — visit the Calgary Flames, which has had its fair share of struggles as of late.
This will be the penultimate game of the Avs five-game road swing across Canada, which will wrap up on Thursday in Minnesota. This contest in Calgary marks another rematch of the two teams’ first-round series matchup in the 2019 Stanley Cup playoffs. Last time out, during the Avs season-opener, Colorado topped Calgary 5-3.
After a near third-period collapse against the Canucks, the Avs eked out a 5-4 overtime victory in Vancouver on Saturday night, after nearly blowing both a 3-1 and 4-2 lead.
Rookie defenseman Cale Makar continued his Calder-Trophy march by recording four assists in the win. He’s up to 22 points in 20 games. And I think it’s time we all accept that this is no longer just hype, rather, Makar is the real deal and he’s going to do things like this night-in and night-out. Cool.
Nathan MacKinnon also continued to do Nathan-MacKinnon things by scoring two goals and adding a helper in the victory. MacKinnon has nearly twice as many goals, assists and points as the next closest Avs forward, which is decidedly a bad look for the “Avs finally have some depth-scoring this season” narrative.
Matt Calvert, who took a puck to the ear in the win, will not be playing “the next couple games,” according to Jared Bednar. Logan O’Connor and A.J Greer have been called up from the AHL Colorado Eagles to fill the holes. This likely means that Tyson Jost’s “day-to-day” injury is enough to keep him out of the lineup tonight.
Joonas Donskoi — Nathan MacKinnon — Andre Burakovsky
Matt Nieto — P-E Bellemare — Val Nichushkin
T.J. Tynan — Vlad Kamenev — Jayson Megna (LOC? AJG?)
Sam Girard — Erik Johnson
Ryan Graves — Cale Makar
Nikita Zadorov — Ian Cole
While the Avs have had it pretty bad the past month or so in regards to its injured skaters, the Flames, too, have had a tough couple weeks.
During a practice last week, defenseman T.J. Brodie collapsed and had an apparent seizure. He was subsequently hospitalized and released shortly thereafter. He’s “doing well” and we all wish him the best in his recovery. Scary stuff.
Entering Tuesday’s matchup, the Flames have played the most games of any team in the NHL, and at 10-10-3, the Flames exude mediocrity. A third of Calgary’s games have been decided in either overtime or the shootout, though they’ve been shutout in each of their last two games, while allowing nine goals over that span. The Flames have given up the sixth-most goals in the league and have scored just 2.52 goals per game, third-worst in the NHL.
In theory, the Avs’ league fourth-best offense should be able to easily dispatch the Flames’ lethargic defense — even with half Colorado’s roster out of the lineup.
Johnny Gaudreau — Sean Monahan — Elias Lindholm
Matthew Tkachuk — Michael Backlund — Michael Frolik
Andrew Mangiapane — Derek Ryan — Sam Bennett
Milan Lucic — Mark Jankowski — Tobias Rieder
Mark Giordano — Rasmus Andersson
Noah Hanifin — Travis Hamonic
Oliver Kylington — Michael Stone
The Avalanche returned Adam Werner to the Eagles this morning. That means we are likely to get the good news that Philipp Grubauer is ready to return to the net tonight for the Avs.
On Calgary’s side of things, Cam Talbot got lit up Sunday night so it’s likely the Flames will go back to “Big Save Dave” Rittich tonight. He comes into the game with a 9-5-3 record and a .914 sv%.