When they hit the ice on Sunday night, the Colorado Avalanche didn’t necessarily look like a team that had been off the ice for 10 days and were missing a number of key players. The team looked rusty to start but played well, all things considered. They just couldn’t beat Marc-Andre Fleury as the Avalanche a 1-0 decision to the Vegas Golden Knights.
The Avalanche outplayed Vegas for the second half of the game but were just unable to capitalize on their chances. Tonight, the Avalanche will look to get back in the win column as they again take on the Golden Knights in the second of four straight matchups.
The Avalanche: (7-4-1)
The Opponent: Vegas Golden Knights (10-2-1)
Puck Drop: 8:00 PM MT
Watch: Altitude, NHL Network, Sportsnet360
Listen: Altitude 92.5 FM, AM 950
Just before game time Sunday night, the Avalanche announced that they would be without superstar defender Cale Makar. The Norris Trophy candidate was ruled out with an upper body injury and has been listed as day-to-day. There is a chance Makar will be back in the lineup tonight but the Avs recalled defender Dan Renouf on emergency loan, so it’s looking like Makar will miss at least one more game.
As of Monday evening, Gabriel Landeskog, Tyson Jost and Samuel Girard all remained in the NHL’s COVID protocol quarantine while backup goalie Hunter Miska was added to the list. That means Adem Werner will fill in as the backup to Philipp Grubauer for the foreseeable future.
UPDATE: Cale Makar was on the ice this morning and the coach said that he was “close” while the team is calling him a “game time decision”. At the same time, Bednar also said we’re not likely to see Makar until Saturday and that tonight’s lineup will be the same as Sunday night.
And yes, Cale was on the ice today.— Colorado Avalanche (@Avalanche) February 16, 2021
He will be a game time decision. #GoAvsGo pic.twitter.com/Uqc5duoHSM
Brandon Saad - Nathan MacKinnon - Mikko Rantanen
Andre Burakovsky - Nazem Kadri - Joonas Donskoi
Logan O’Connor - JT Compher - Val Nichushkin
Sheldon Dries - P-E Bellemare - Jayson Megna
Devon Toews - Conor Timmins
Jacob MacDonald - Ryan Graves
Bo Byram - Dan Renouf
Vegas Golden Knights
Like the Avs, Vegas played without their best defenseman Sunday night. Shea Theodore has missed the last few games and while he is making progress, he’s still doubtful for tonight’s contest.
Max Pacioretty scored the game’s only goal early in the second period. Aside from that shift, he and Mark Stone were outplayed by their Avs counterparts most of the night. While the top line was only able to produce a 40% shot share, it was the trio of Jonathan Marchessault, William Karlsson and Reilly Smith who led the way for Vegas. The team’s second line was able to dominate play as they matched up against a discombobulated bottom-9 for the Avs.
Max Pacioretty - Chandler Stephenson - Mark Stone
Jonathan Marchessault - William Karlsson - Reilly Smith
Keegan Kolesar - Cody Glass - Alex Tuch
William Carrier - Nicolas Roy - Ryan Reaves
Alec Martinez - Alex Pietrangelo
Nic Hague - Zach Whitecloud
Nick Holden - Dylan Coghlan
With Pavel Francouz and Robin Lehner both still hurt, it is expected that we will see the same goaltending matchup as Sunday night. Philipp Grubauer and Marc-Andre Fleury combined to stop 49 of the 50 shots thrown their way in the first game of the series. With the fire power available between these two teams, both goalies will have to be on the top of their game again in the rematch. Grubauer and Fleury enter tonight’s game sitting in the top-5 for league save percentage.