After beating the Hawks 4-1 on the road in front of the Wednesday Night Hockey national audience, the last place team in the Central Division is back for more, this time in Denver. The Avalanche didn’t play their best in the win against Chicago, but they didn’t need to as the Avs had enough talent to out-gun the Hawks.
The Avalanche do have a bit of a patchy situation on defense, with the group struggling in their own end. Nikita Zadorov was benched in the third against Carolina, and while Erik Johnson is back, he’s the only natural right-hander on the roster. I’m not quite sure how they’ll line up tonight. Please get well soon, Cale Makar.
The defense pairings are not quite settled yet, and they might not settle in until game time.
Gabriel Landeskog - Nathan MacKinnon - Mikko Rantanen
Joonas Donskoi - Nazem Kadri - Andre Burakovsky
Matt Nieto - P.E. Bellemare - Matt Calvert
Tyson Jost - J.T. Compher - Valeri Nichushkin
Ryan Graves - Samuel Girard
Nikita Zadorov - Ian Cole
Anton Lindholm - Erik Johnson
Here are the Hawks lines from their last game. Not many changes at forward, but the defense sees top pick Adam Boqvist on the first pair with Duncan Keith.
Robin Lehner in net.— Mark Lazerus (@MarkLazerus) December 21, 2019
Dylan Sikura comes in for the injured Brandon Saad, and will take Saad's spot on Toews' line.
Koekkoek the D scratch.
No updates on de Haan (who has yet to have surgery and is seeking second opinions) or Seabrook (dealing with "nagging" things).
Philipp Grubauer is confirmed to be between the pipes. Robin Lehner is the started for the Blackhawks tonight.