The Avalanche: 2-1-0
Los Angeles Kings: 0-1-2
Puck drop: 8:00 p.m. MT
Watch: Altitude, NHLTV, Sportsnet
Listen: Altitude 92.5, AM 950
After trading Ian Cole earlier in the day, the Colorado Avalanche got out to a three goal lead against the Los Angeles Kings Tuesday night, only to barely hold on for a 3-2 victory in the first game of their California swing. The win pushed the Avalanche record above .500 for the first time this season. Nathan MacKinnon recorded the 500th point of his career as the Avalanche offense was buoyed once again by their powerplay.
Tonight, the two teams will meet again in what will be the first of a back-to-back for the Avs. With the Anaheim Ducks waiting for them tomorrow, Colorado will look to grab another win against the less than impressive Kings.
Coach Bednar has not confirmed anything but there have been enough hints to make us think that a certain top prospect might be making his NHL debut tonight.
With Andre Burakovskey and Pavel Francouz still not skating on Wednesday, it is unlikely that either will suit up for the Avs tonight. That said, the team will be making two lineup changes tonight. Top prospect Bo Byram will be making his NHL debut while the newly acquired Greg Pateryn will suit up for the first time since being traded for Ian Cole.
The fourth overall pick in the 2019 draft, Byram is fresh off of a dominant performance at the World Juniors. He has been skating with the Avs for almost a week now and is ready to test himself against NHL competition for the first time.
In order to make room for Byram and Pateryn, Erik Johnson and Dennis Gilbert will be coming out of the lineup. Johnson made his season debut Tuesday night but he missed all of camp after a positive COVID test, so the team is working him back into the lineup slowly. He will likely be back tomorrow on the second leg of the back-to-back.
That means that the Avalanche will be going with 11 forwards and seven defenders again tonight. Even with seven defenders dressed, Devon Toews played nearly 26 minutes in the first meeting with the Kings. It looks like the coaching staff has found their new work horse.
The Avalanche will have four defensemen in the lineup who are 22-years of age or younger.
Hunter Miska will be making the start between the pipes with Grubauer going tomorrow.
Gabriel Landeskog - Nathan MacKinnon - Mikko Rantanen
Brandon Saad - Nazem Kadri - Joonas Donskoi
Tyson Jost - J.T. Compher - Val Nichushkin
Matt Calvert - P-E Bellmare
Devon Toews - Cale Makar
Samuel Girard - Conor Timmins
Ryan Graves - Greg Pataryn
Los Angeles Kings
After a listless first forty minutes Tuesday night, Andreas Athanasiou and Andrian Kempe scored third period goals for the Kings to make the game close. Prior to that, the Kings looks like a team that was badly out classed most of the night. That’s not surprising as they are icing a lineup that is as close to tank-mode as you can get.
Drew Doughty looked like a shell of his old self as he was battered around the ice on all night, including getting crushed by Cale Makar and Gabriel Landeskog on separate occasions.
Jeff Carter led the team with four shots on net. He has been really good this year as it looks like he might be auditioning for the rest of the league. He’s got another year left on his contract so he wouldn’t be a deadline rental but it makes sense that the Kings would look to move Carter in order to free up space in the lineup for some of their youngsters - Quinton Byfield and Alex Turcotte in particular.
After throwing Cal Peterson to the Avs in the last game, expect Jonathan Quick to be between the pipes tonight.
Lines (Taken from JewelsFromTheCrown)
Alex Iaffalo — Anze Kopitar — Dustin Brown
Andreas Athanasiou — Blake Lizotte — Jeff Carter
Adrian Kempe — Gabriel Vilardi — Austin Wagner
Trevor Moore — Michael Amadio — Matt Luff
Olli Maatta — Drew Doughty
Mikey Anderson — Matt Roy
Kurtis MacDermid — Sean Walker