The Colorado Avalanche will end their five-game road trip tonight with a matchup against rival Minnesota Wild. This Avalanche squad has won five of their last six games despite having to call up two AHL goalies and numerous AHL forwards. The Wild are doing thier best to turn their season around after a horrendous start. Minnesota has won three of the last five but remains second to last in the Western Conference.
As we all know, Colorado has caught the injury bug. As a result, the Colorado Avalanche’s current third and fourth line features three forwards that planned on spending most of the 2019-20 season in vail with the Colorado Eagles. On top of that, Vladislav Kamenev has gotten some vital ice time after starting the year as the usual healthy scratch on game day.
Andre Burakovsky, Nathan MacKinnon, and Cale Makar have been the talk of the town over this road trip, and I expect them to light it up again tonight. The Wild are one of the league’s slower teams, and for the Avs speed kills.
Andre Burakovsky - Nathan MacKinnon - Joonas Donskoi
Matt Nieto - Nazem Kadri - J.T. Compher
Valeri Nichushkin - Pierre-Edouard Bellemare - Logan O’Connor
T.J. Tynan - Vladislav Kamenev - Jayson Megna
Ian Cole - Cale Makar
Samuel Girard - Erik Johnson
Nikita Zadorov - Mark Barberio
NOTE: Avs defender Ryan Graves has ten PIM in the last three games. This may explain Mark Barberio pairing with Zadorov.
This year’s Wild squad has been struggling, only accumulating eighteen points in twenty-one games. At this pace, they will finish the year with just thirty-two regulation wins. Minnesota’s poor start has Head Coach Bruce Boudreau on the hot seat. A home loss to a division rival tonight could be the tipping point for Ol’ Bruce.
Jason Zucker - Eric Staal - Mats Zuccarello
Zach Parise - Mikko Koivu - Kevin Fiala
Jordan Greenway - Joel Eriksson Ek - Luke Kunin
Ryan Donato - Victor Rask - Ryan Hartman
Ryan Suter - Jared Spurgeon
Jonas Brodin - Matt Dumba
Carson Soucy - Brad Hunt
The Wild will likely go with Alex Stalock in net this evening. Stalock would get his eighth start of the year if so. He currently has a SV% of .911 and a GAA of 2.63. A start for Stalock would also mean the second straight benching of usual G1 Devan Dubnyk. Dubnyk hasn’t started since giving up four goals on twenty-eight shots in an OT loss the Carolina Hurricanes last Saturday.
The Avalanche got Philipp Grubauer back in their last game against the Calgary Flames. He will likely get the nod again tonight. It was good to see Grubby back in net, and he seemed to be moving and reading the play just fine.