Tonight the Colorado Avalanche will face another divisional opponent at the Pepsi Center. The Winnipeg Jets come to town having lost three straight and are looking to right the ship. The Avs hope to avoid a three-game losing streak of their own.
The Avalanche have been disappointing the home crowd as of late, giving up a third-period lead in each of the last three home losses. That’s not a good look for a team that is riddled with talent.
The Avalanche have also been struggling to produce on the powerplay, having scored just two PPG in their last eleven attempts. Some failed powerplay attempts have been worse than others. The Avalanche came up empty-handed on a crucial five on three in their previous matchup with Dallas. A lack in PP production seems to have head coach Jared Bednar thinking on new PP combinations and alignments for tonight’s new year’s bout with Winnipeg.
Gabriel Landeskog - Nathan MacKinnon - Mikko Rantanen
Andre Burakovsky - Nazem Kadri - Joonas Donskoi
Valeri Nichushkin - Pierre Eduoard Bellemare - Matt Calvert
Tyson Jost - J.T. Compher - Matt Nieto
Samuel Girard - Cale Makar
Ryan Graves - Erik Johnson
Nikita Zadorov - Ian Cole
The Jets are a team that has struggled to find its identity throughout the year. Their blue line was already looking worse for wear before Dustin Byfuglien pulled the rug out from under them, but that hasn’t turned out to be the Jets weakness. They have allowed just 2.95 GA/GP so far this season.
The Jets have a hard time stringing wins together. For each of their two or three-game winning streaks, they’ve had a two or three-game losing streak. Consistency is crucial, and that is just what the Jets have lacked this season.
Kyle Connor - Mark Scheifele - Patrik Laine
Nikolaj Ehlers - Blake Wheeler - Jack Roslovic
Gabriel Bourque - Adam Lowry - Mason Appleton
Jansen Harkins - Nick Shore - Logan Shaw
Josh Morrissey - Tucker Poolman
Luca Sbisa - Neal Pionk
Anthony Bitetto - Nathan Beaulieu
Avalanche goaltender Pavel Francouz had a rough outing in his last game. Given that and the holiday, I’d assume a well-rested Philipp Grubauer will get the nod in net this evening. Grubby comes in with a SV% of .915 and a GAA of 2.81.
For the Jets, you can expect Connor Hellebuyck to get the nod. Connor has been a shining light of hope for the Jets this year and has often been the catalyst of Winnipeg wins this season. He comes into the night with a SV% of .923 and a GAA of 2.55. He has struggled in his last five starts, however, most notably against the St. Louis Blues, where he gave up five goals on forty shots in an OT loss to the former champs.