The Avalanche: (42-20-8) / (0-0-0)
The Opponent: Minnesota Wild (35-27-7) / (0-0-0)
Puck drop: 12:30 p.m. MT
Watch: Altitude, NHL Network, NHL.TV, FS-N, FS-WI
Listen: Altitude 92.5, AM 950
It’s the first game back for the Colorado Avalanche after a long pause and it couldn’t have come soon enough. The Avs will play their first game in over four and a half months Wednesday afternoon against the Minnesota Wild in their one and only tune-up before the Stanley Cup Playoffs get going.
For the pre-playoffs game, each team will be allowed to dress 20 skaters along with the standard two goalies for this game in order to help teams figure out their final rosters. For the Avalanche, there are a few options floating about in terms of who they’ll play, with young prospect Conor Timmins in with a shot at the top-six.
The Avalanche are still being secretive with their lineup, including who they’ll play as extras. So far, we only know what they ran last week during practices in Denver.
What we do know is that Coach Bednar will be splitting his goalies in the net on Wednesday, as well as all three of the Round Robin games. This uncertainty with the goaltender this late into the process only shows how good Pavel Francouz has been as the 1B. Both goaltenders have been great, and with both of them now healthy, it’ll be a tough decision to make. I don’t think they can go wrong here.
“We’re going to split the net tomorrow with the goalies, give them both some time in game action against a real opponent, and then I expect them to split the round-robin games as well,” Bednar said on a video conference call following Tuesday’s practice. “I would like to get both of those guys playing and get some games under their belt before we head into the playoffs. So our decision for starting goalie or Game 1 goalie for playoffs will be determined between now and then.” - NHL dot com
In terms of the skaters, Conor Timmins was skating in the top-six with Sam Girard out for an undisclosed reason. There’s a chance he gets in the lineup, although both Mark Barberio and Kevin Connauton skated with the main group as well so it’s tough to rule them out.
At forward, Bednar said the lineup should be similar to what was run last Saturday, which had the top-12 as follows with Tyson Jost and Vladislav Kamenev fighting for the 13th spot. We’ll see who they pick in the pre-game warmup.
Potential lineup from last Saturday
Andre Burakovsky - Nathan MacKinnon - Mikko Rantanen
Gabriel Landeskog - Nazem Kadri - Valeri Nichushkin
Joonas Donskoi - JT Compher - Vladislav Namestnikov
Matt Nieto - Pierre-Edouard Bellemare - Matt Calvert
Tyson Jost/Vladislav Kamenev
Ryan Graves - Cale Makar
Samuel Girard - Erik Johnson
Ian Cole - Nikita Zadorov
Mark Barberio/Conor Timmins/Kevin Connauton
Philipp Grubauer/Pavel Francouz
The Wild are gearing up to face the Vancouver Canucks in a best-of-five series starting on Sunday, August 2nd. The intensity for them should be higher than that of the Avalanche, who have a bye into the First Round.
Michael Russo is reporting that the Wild will also split their goalies in this game with Alex Stalock getting the first half.
Stalock and Dubnyk will split tomorrow's exhibition game for #mnwild. Stalock will start— Michael Russo (@RussoHockey) July 28, 2020
Potential lineup from last week
Jordan Greenway - Eric Staal - Kevin Fiala
Zach Parise - Joel Eriksson Ek - Luke Kunin
Marcus Foligno - Alex Galchenyuk - Mats Zuccarello
Ryan Donato - Mikko Koivu - Ryan Hartman
Ryan Suter - Jared Spurgeon
Jonas Brodin - Matt Dumba
Carson Soucy - Brad Hunt