Colorado Avalanche: (0-1-0)
The Opponent: St. Louis Blues (1-0-0)
Puck Drop: 7:00 PM MT
Listen: Altitude 92.5, AM 950
After their opening night bout with the Blues, the Avs will be looking to recover tonight on the first back-to-back opponent after their 4-1 loss on Wednesday, their first opening day loss under Jared Bednar. This will be the second of eight times the Avs face the Blues this season. Every point counts in intra-division play, and with every game being intra-division play, every night is a three-point night and the Avs need to recover before dropping points early hurts them later in the season.
Like mentioned earlier, the Avs are looking to bounce back after their sloppy opening night defeat. The puck control, especially in the defensive zone, was not good and lead to the last two goals by the Blues in the third, with Samuel Girard giving up the puck easily for the Blues third, and Philipp Grubauer misplaying the puck to give the Blues their fourth. The second line also struggled, with Saad still adjusting to the team, Kadri just looking slow, and Landeskog missing his buddies on the top line. While Burakovsky scored the only goal from opening night for the Avs, it has caused Jared Bednar to switch things up for the second game of the year.
Erik Johnson is still not available due to COVID protocols, and Bowen Byram remains quarantined and reassigned to the AHL for now, but we could see him make an apperance at least on the taxi squad after tonight’s game, depending on what Bednar wants to do with the team before their first road trip next week.
Devon Toews should be good to go as well, as the hit he took early in the first was just concussion protocol and he returned to the game later with no issue and will be prepared for this evenings proceedings.
Coach Bednar is going to switch up the defense pairings to start the game, moving Sammy G to the right side to play with Ryan Graves.
Gabriel Landeskog - Nathan MacKinnon - Mikko Rantanen
Brandon Saad - Nazem Kadri - Andre Burakovsky
Joonas Donskoi - J.T. Compher - Val Nichushkin
Matt Calvert - P-E Bellmare - Tyson Jost
Devon Toews - Cale Makar
Ryan Graves - Samuel Girard
Ian Cole - Conor Timmins
St. Louis Blues
The Blues have to be feeling confident after their solid win on Wednesday night. They outworked the Avs, and looked generally a lot more prepared and ready for what the Avs would throw their way. They will be looking to get two-of-two games against the Avs and they can do so with a win on Friday night. The Blues will be competing for the top spot in the division along the Avs and Golden Knights, so if they can take four points away from the Ball Arena, Craig Berube’s men will call it a successful road trip.
Oskar Sundqvist started hot, with two of the four Blues goals on Wednesday and will look to continue the season hot. Jaden Schwartz and Robert Thomas also chipped in with two assists, looking to get more points to start the season.However, the Blues will be losing a player because of the first suspension of the NHL season landing on Sammy Blais after his hit on Devon Toews in the first period on Wednesday.
St. Louis Blues forward Sammy Blais has been suspended two games for an illegal check to the head of Colorado Avalanche defenceman Devon Toews during the teams' season opener.https://t.co/KF7mA4kAaq— Sportsnet (@Sportsnet) January 15, 2021
It looks like the team has figured out Mike Hoffman’s visa paperwork issues so he will be able to make his debut tonight for the Blues.
Brayden Schenn - Ryan O’Reilly - David Perron
Jaden Schwartz - Robert Thomas - Mike Hoffman
Zach Sanford - Tyler Bozak - Jordan Kyrou
Kyle Clifford - Oskar Sundqvist - Ivan Barbashev
Torey Krug - Coloton Parayako
Marco Scandella - Justin Faulk
Vince Dunn - Robert Bortuzzo
Jared Bednar did not say whether he would stick with Grubauer or switch to start Francouz, so expect it to be released later this afternoon or at game time. The Blues will once again go with Jordan Binnington after his strong performance on Wednesday.
Let’s hope for a better result tonight, get all the sloppiness out of the way and get results going for the season. Let’s go Avs!
UPDATE: Grubauer is getting the start again tonight