Joonas Donski scored the first hat trick of his NHL career while Nathan MacKinnon put on the kind or performance you want to see from a superstar trying to pull his team out of a slump. MacKinnon had a goal and two assists while throwing 10 shots on net and creating 15 individual shot attempts - all while leaving the game for precautionary reasons before the start of the third period.
MacKinnon is expected to be good to go tonight and should be a stabilizing presence as the banged up Avalanche host a Columbus Blue Jackets team that is looking to stay relevant in the Eastern Conference.
Both teams enter the game having lost four of their last five games. While the Avalanche still sit near the top of their division, Columbus has turned into one of the bottom feeders in the Eastern Conference this season.
Missing two all stars, their starting goalie and two solid depth players, the Avalanche are in a tough spot but this is the kind of games a good team wins, despite adversity.
Though Nathan MacKinnon was removed from Thursday’s game for precautionary reasons and is expected to play, the news isn’t as good for Nikita Zadorov. The big defender left the game against Nashville after taking a shot to the face. He will be missing from the lineup indefinitely after reports that he has suffered a broken jaw. Big Z also spent a lot of Friday undergoing dental reconstruction surgery - it sounds as though it will be a lot easier for Zadorov to do a great Erik Johnson impression going forward.
Despite all the injuries - Mikko Rantanen, Gabriel Landeskog and Colin Wilson are also still out of the lineup - the Avs came alive against the Predators scoring nine goals, including six unanswered in the second period.
The team has re-called Jayson Megna from the from the Eagles Friday night. We’ll see if he gets back into the lineup for his second game of the season.
Tyson Jost - Nathan MacKinnon - Joonas Donskoi
Andre Burakovsky - Nazem Kadri - J.T. Compher
Matt Nieto - Pierre-Edouard Bellemare - Matt Calvert
Valeri Nichushkin - Vladislav Kamenev - T.J Tynan/Jayson Megna
Samuel Girard - Erik Johnson
Ian Cole - Cale Makar
Ryan Graves - Mark Barberio
COLUMBUS BLUE JACKETS
The Blue Jackets ended their own four-game losing streak with a win in Arizona this past Thursday.
After losing Artemi Panarin to free agency over the summer, Columbus has been struggling badly to score goals. With only 38 goals, they sit tied with the Chicago Blackhawks for the fewest goals scored this season.
Despite the team’s struggles, 21-year old Pierre-Luc Dubois is having a breakout season as the emerging star leads the team with six goals and 11 points. Along with Seth Jones and Zach Werenski, Dubois is part of foundation for a team that is on the first leg of a rebuild.
Gustav Nyquist - Pierre-Luc Dubois - Oliver Bjorkstrand
Sonny Milano - Alexander Wennberg - Cam Atkinson
Nick Foligno - Boone Jenner - Josh Anderson
Alexandre Texier - Riley Nash - Kole Sherwood
Zach Werenski - Seth Jones
Dean Kukan - David Savard
Vladislav Gavrikov - Scott Harrington
We don’t have an update on Philipp Grubauer but Adam Werner is still with the team so we should assume he’s going to miss his second game in a row. If that’s the case, we are likely to see Pavel Fancouz get back to back starts for the first time in his NHL career.
With Sergei Bobrovsky taking his talents to south beach, Joonas Korpisalo has taken over the starting job for the Blue Jackets. He has a 6-6-1 record on the season with a less than impressive .896 sv%.