After yet another disappointing third period, the Colorado Avalanche will look to bounce back this evening as they travel to Dallas to take on the Stars. Last night’s 6-4 loss to the Minnesota Wild was the third loss in the last four games for the Avalanche - each loss coming after a third period collapse.
Despite the recent losses, the team still sits in second place in the Central Division. That said, a regulation win for Dallas tonight will pull them within three points of the Avs.
Cale Makar returned to the Avalanche lineup last night and he was definitely rusty. Makar and Sam Girard struggled mightily in their own end for most of the night and were directly responsible for a couple of the goals against.
On the slip side, Ryan Graves and Erik Johnson looked great together as the pair had the best shot share on the team (63%) while Graves had a game-high seven individual shot attempts.
For the first time in a while, the first line looked to be firing on all cylinders offesnively, but liek ther est of the forward group, they struggled when the Wild had the puck. Team defense is going to need to be a lot better if the Avs want to pick up two points tonight.
A single point tonight will put Nathan MacKinnon ahead of Paul Stastney for 5th all time in Avalanche franchise scoring.
All-Time Points by an #Avs player:— Ryan S. Clark (@ryan_s_clark) December 28, 2019
No. 1: Joe Sakic (1,015)
No. 2: Milan Hejduk (805)
No. 3: Peter Forsberg (705)
No. 4: Alex Tanguay (488)
Nos. 5: Nathan MacKinnon and Paul Stastny (458)
Nathan MacKinnon is only 24.
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 - Erik Johnson
Cale Makar - Samuel Girard
Nikita Zadorov - Ian Cole
The Stars will be coming out of their holiday break having lost two straight and three of their last four. After a slow start to the season, they are making a push up the Central standings and currently sit as one of the Wild Card teams in the West.
The Stars are the lowest scoring team in the conference, so this will be a good opportunity for the Avalanche defense to get back to the way they were playing earlier in the season.
Avalanche fans are lucky enough to watch one of the best young defensemen in the game on a nightly basis, tonight they’ll get to see another as Miro Heiskanen has established himself as one of the best in hockey and legitimate Norris candidate.
After a rough night for Pavel Francouz last night, we will see Philipp Grubauer back between the pipes in this one. He has struggled at times since returning from injury so the low scoring Stars might be just what the doctor ordered.
In net for Dallas will be one of the Vezina favorites. Ben Bishop comes into this game with a 12-9-3 record and a .924 sv%.