The Colorado Avalanche will face the New York Rangers tonight for the second time in less than a week. This time in their neck of the woods. The first contest featured a big hit by Rangers’ Jacob Trouba on Avalanche superstar Nathan MacKinnon and a subsequent response from Avalanche Captain Gabe Landeskog. Be on the lookout for a heavyweight tilt between Kurtis MacDermid and Ryan Reaves in the wake of last week’s action.
The Avalanche find themselves in the middle of a four-game winning streak. Extending their consecutive wins to five is the focus, but unfortunately, major concerns may lie elsewhere due to COVID.
Colorado Defender Devon Toews has been placed on the COVID protocol list and will not be in the lineup for tonight’s matchup. Subsequently, Avalanche prospect Justin Barron is likely to appear in his first NHL game this evening. After playing the Avs on Sunday, the Florida Panthers put two players in COVID protocol as well. Not a good sign for a team that had to pause and play the season on numerous occasions last year due to COVID postponements.
Note: Devon Toews has officially tested positive for COVID-19 with mild symptoms. He will be unavailable to play until after Christmas. We wish him and his family well.
Andre Burakovsky (95) - Nathan MacKinnon (29) - Mikko Rantanen (96)
Valeri Nichushkin (13) - Nazem Kadri (91) - Logan O’Connor (25)
JT Compher (37) - Alex Newhook (18) - Nicolas Aube-Kubel (16)
Darren Helm (43) - Tyson Jost (17) - Mikhail Maltsev (11)
Sam Girard (49) - Cale Makar (8)
Erik Johnson (6) - Justin Barron (20)
Jack Johnson (3) - Kurtis MacDermid (56)
NEW YORK RANGERS
The Rangers are one of the hottest teams in the NHL coming into tonight’s bout, winning eight of their last ten contests, all in regulation. The Trouba hitting showcase hasn’t slowed either. Despite starching and hospitalizing Jujhar Khaira, Trouba hasn’t faced any supplementary discipline from a league that claims to be working to take head injuries more seriously. You’d better believe that the talk among the Avalanche players is to keep one’s head up this evening.
This game will also feature an intriguing look at two of 2021’s potential Norris Trophy winners, Cale Makar and Adam Fox. The two will likely be compared for the rest of their respective careers.
Chris Kreider (20) - Mika Zibanejad (93) - Kaapo Kakko (24)
Artemi Panarin (10) - Ryan Strome (16) - Dryden Hunt (29)
Alexis Lafreniere (13) - Filip Chytil (72) - Julien Gauthier (15)
Kevin Rooney (17) - Barclay Goodrow (21) - Ryan Reaves (75)
Ryan Lindgren (55) - Adam Fox (23)
K’andre Miller (79) - Jacob Trouba (8)
Patrik Nemeth (12) - Libor Hajek (25)
Colorado will start Darcy Kuemper again after he collected arguably his most impressive win on Sunday against the Panthers. He held one of the league’s highest-scoring teams to just two goals and was a stalwart between the pipes with a one-goal lead.
The Rangers will go with Alexandar Georgiev, who has five wins and two losses this season and is posting a 2.85 GAA and .911 SV%. Adam Huska got his first start as Ranger the last time these two met, so maybe don’t expect another seven-goal performance from the Avalanche. Maybe.