With only three games left in 2019, the Colorado Avalanche are looking to stay on track after their four goal victory over Las Vegas on Monday night.
Tonight’s match-up against the struggling Minnesota Wild could be just what they need to maintain the offense as they prepare to face the Dallas Stars and Winnipeg Jets before New Years.
The big news for the Avs is that Cale Makar is expected to re-join the lineup tonight. Anton Lindholm was sent back to the Colorado Eagles after Monday’s game to clear a spot for Makar. He practiced and travelled with the team to Las Vegas, but head coach Jared Bednar said Makar was still sore and wanted to take advantage of the break to give him some extra rest.
Makar provided both goals in the Avs 3-2 loss to the Wild in October, so having him back tonight will be crucial. Six skaters recorded goals on Monday, and if that production can be even partially sustained, they will be in good shape for tonight.
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
Cale Makar - Erik Johnson
Minnesota comes to Denver after a 3-0 victory over the Calgary Flames on Monday. Three different skaters scored, and Devan Dubnyk returned to the team after a family matter.
In that October game, current Wild second place points leader Jason Zucker scored the game winning goal. He now has 12 goals and 12 assists and Eric Staal who received an assist that night leads the team in points. Staal has 14 goals and 17 assists, which also leads the team.
Zach Parise- Eric Staal- Mats Zuccarello
Ryan Donato- Joel Eriksson Ek- Kevin Fiala
Jordan Greenway- Nico Sturm -Luke Kunin
Marcus Foligno- Victor Rask -Ryan Hartman
Ryan Suter- Jared Spurgeon
Jonas Brodin- Carson Soucy
Brad Hunt- Matt Dumba
Expect Philipp Grubauer to be in net for the Avs. Against the Wild in October, he saved 28 of 31 shots and allowed one power play goal. He rested on Monday as well, and should be ready to go tonight.
Dubnyk just played in his first game back with the team, and Alex Stalock beat the Avs earlier this season holding them to just 27 shots. Either net minder will be a challenge, but the Avs offense should be able to break through.