The Colorado Avalanche are facing their first real test of adversity in the bubble as they head into Game 2 against the Dallas Stars. They dropped Game 1 by a score of 5-3 on Saturday to open up the second round. However, that is not where the adversity comes into play. The Avalanche also lost a few key members of their squad, leading to a truly injury-shortened roster for the first time in these playoffs. Philipp Grubauer, Erik Johnson, and Matt Calvert are among the names of players the Avalanche may be without. Grubauer is confirmed, however, Johnson and Calvert are day-to-day.
The Avalanche have lost games in the bubble before, but not Game 1 to start a series. Now is where they show what they are truly made of as a team. Down in the series and missing some key pieces like their starting goaltender, the Avalanche can prove a lot by coming out strong today. All eyes will be on Pavel Francouz, who had a solid regular season but has only played in three games in the bubble so far. He has played pretty well in those three games, but the Avs need him to be solid again tonight to have a chance.
Getting Nathan MacKinnon some help will be another test for the Avalanche. Stop me if you’ve heard this before, but the only offence generated on Saturday came from the stick of MacKinnon. Two goals and one assist for points on each of the Avalanche goals, MacKinnon and his line provided the scoring on Saturday. Now, it will be up to others to help chip in here and there too. Nazem Kadri has been unreal these playoffs, can him and someone like Tyson Jost help provide some offence against a stingy Dallas defensive team?
The Avalanche lines will almost certainly change around a bit with injuries. We know the starting goaltender, but who subs in for Johnson and Calvert if needed will be the bigger question. There are a few options on the back-end, and it may come down to whether Bednar and the Avs want a steadier veteran presence to replace Johnson, or go for more high skill and upside in someone like Conor Timmins. We will provide an update as soon as the Avs release their lineup, which will likely happen around puck drop.
UPDATE: Kevin Connauton has been confirmed to be in on the left side next to Nikita Zadorov.
Bednar said he has liked Bowen Byram and Conor Timmins in camp but said Kevin Connauton go the nod because of strength and puck moving. He also likes Connauton's experience. #Avs— Ryan S. Clark (@ryan_s_clark) August 24, 2020
Gabriel Landeskog - Nathan MacKinnon - Mikko Rantanen
Andre Burakovsky - Nazem Kadri - Joonas Donskoi
Tyson Jost - JT Compher - Valeri Nichushkin
Matt Nieto - Pierre-Edouard Bellemare - Vladislav Namestnikov
Ryan Graves - Cale Makar
Samuel Girard - Ian Cole
Kevin Connauton - Nikita Zadorov
Pavel Francouz - Projected Starter
Don’t expect any massive changes for the Avalanche expect for maybe some tweaks to get the bottom-nine going and whichever player will sub in along side Zadorov. This is a huge game for the Avs as you really don’t want to fall down 2-0 in a series.
Projected Lines from Last Game
Jamie Benn - Tyler Seguin - Alexander Radulov
Mattias Janmark - Joe Pavelski - Denis Gurianov
Andrew Cogliano - Radek Faksa - Blake Comeau
Roope Hintz - Jason Dickinson - Corey Perry
Esa Lindell - John Klingberg
Jamie Oleksiak - Miro Heiskanen
Andrej Sekera - Taylor Fedun
The Stars look to keep all their momentum rolling as they have now won four games in a row dating back to last series against the Calgary Flames. In Game 1, they had scoring from up and down the roster which was a huge difference between the two teams.
Multiple goals from players not on the top line made a difference as they took the game 5-3. Look for their roster to stay pretty similar has there have been no issues with how things have been going lately. This should be an intense Game 2 and one you won’t want to miss.