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Colorado Avalanche Game Day: Four games to prove yourself

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The Avalanche aren’t out of it yet

NHL: Colorado Avalanche at Vegas Golden Knights
Dec 27, 2018; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Colorado Avalanche left wing J.T. Compher (37) falls on top of Vegas Golden Knights defenseman Deryk Engelland (5) during the third period at T-Mobile Arena.
Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports

With one week to go before the NHL Trade deadline, the Colorado Avalanche have four games to prove to their front office that they don’t deserve to be torn apart. Despite dismal play for a long while, the Avalanche sit only three points out of the second Wild Card position - with a game in hand.

The team looks like they should be sellers at the deadline, but if they are able to string together a few wins this week, Joe Sakic might decide on a different course of action.

Tonight, the Avalanche host a Vegas Golden Knights team that is firmly entrenched in the top-three of the Pacific Division. After a slow start, Vegas has been one of the best teams in the league over the past few months as they make their way to the second playoff appearance in franchise history.

The last time these two teams met, the Avalanche fell 2-1 after giving up a season-high 43 shots against.


Colorado Avalanche

With points in four of their last six games, the Avalanche have been playing a lot better lately - an amazing thing considering one of their All-Stars has gone ice cold. Mikko Rantanen has only one goal in his last 10 games. If the team is going to start winning more often, Mikko is going to have to find the form that kept him near the top of the NHL scoring race earlier in the season.

The team sent both Sheldon Dries and Dominic Toninato back to the Eagles after the game Saturday afternoon. In their place, the team has recalled Eagles leading scorer Andrew Agozzino. The 28-year old forward has 28 goals and 50 points through 48 games in the AHL this season.

Forwards

Gabriel Landeskog - Nathan MacKinnon - Mikko Rantanen

Andrew Agozzino - Alexander Kerfoot - J.T. Compher

Matt Nieto - Carl Soderberg - Matt Calvert

A.J. Greer - Tyson Jost - Sven Andrighetto

Defense

Samuel Girard - Erik Johnson

Ryan Graves - Tyson Barrie

Patrik Nemeth - Nikita Zadorov


Vegas Golden Knights

The Golden Knights have had an up-and-down run of play recently, they just left a four-game homestand with only one win. The Knights don’t seem to be too concerned about their recent stretch of losing (3-7-0) in their last 10, as they’re still nine points ahead of the next Pacific Division team (the Vancouver Canucks) for third place in the division. Dallas, who is five points back have no ability to take over that spot in the playoffs. Thanks for making sense, NHL.

Forwards

Jonathan Marchessault - William Karlsson - Reilly Smith

Brandon Pirri - Paul Stastny - Alex Tuch

Max Pacioretty - Cody Eakin - Oscar Lindberg

Ryan Reaves - Pierre-Edouard Bellemare - William Carrier

Defense

Brayden McNabb - Shea Theodore

Deryk Engelland - Nate Schmidt

Jon Merrill - Colin Miller


Starting Goalies

No confirmation yet, but we are likely to see Marc-Andre Fleury in net for the Golden Knights. Fleury has been carrying a heavy workload for Vegas and is sporting a 29-18-4 record with a .908 sv%.

For the Avs, it’s going to be Semyon Varlamov again. He has been playing a lot better lately and will look to improve on his .906 sv%.

**Update: looks like it's going to be Malcom Subban in net for Vegas