The Colorado Avalanche will continue their home-stand Tuesday night as they host the last place Anaheim Ducks at Ball Arena. This will already be the fifth meeting between the two teams with the Avalanche going 2-1-1 in the previous four.
Finding their identity as an elite defensive team, the Avalanche continue to work their way up the standings after a slow start to the season. They now sit third in the West and will be looking to put a little breathing room between themselves and the bottom half of the division.
These are the types of games that good teams win - even when dealing with injuries. The Avalanche need to take advantage of Anaheim’s tank tonight.
A win tonight would be the forth in a row for the Avalanche and it would pull them within three points of the division leading Vegas Golden Knights.
The Avs are playing well despite being without five of their eight best defenders. What’s most impressive, is that the team currently leads the NHL in 5v5 defense whole playing with a makeshift group of defenders that includes three career AHLers.
Head Coach Jared Bednar has the whole team buying into his system and it’s paying huge dividends in their defensive results.
Cale Makar has been skating for the last little while but he has not yet joined his teammates for a practice. He is not expected to play tonight but all indications point to him progressing towards a return to the lineup.
Gabriel Landeskog - Nathan MacKinnon - Mikko Rantanen
Brandon Saad - Nazem Kadri - Andre Burakovsky
Valeri Nichushkin - Tyson Jost - Joonas Donskoi
Logan O’Connor - Pierre-Edouard Bellemare - Matt Calvert
Devon Toews - Ryan Graves
Jacob MacDonald - Samuel Girard
Daniel Renouf - Greg Pateryn
UPDATE: Bo Byram and J.T. Compher are “close” to returning, maybe as soon as next game. Makar is skating and “making progress”.
The Ducks come into this game having lost three in row and 12 of their last 14 games. This team is in obvious tank mode - something that is never more obvious than when the dress veterans like David Backes and Nicolas Deslauriers over high-end youngsters like Sam Steel and Trevor Zegras.
One of the two kids will likely be in the lineup tonight as the team placed Backes on waivers over the weekend in order to send him to the taxi squad.
Former DU Pioneer Troy Terry had a big game the last time the Ducks were in town, scoring twice in Anaheim’s overtime loss. He has been playing on the team’s top line as many believe Anaheim is showcasing him for a trade.
Max Comtois - Ryan Getzlaf - Troy Terry
Rickard Rakell - Adam Henrique - Jakob Silfverberg
Danton Heinen - Isac Lundestrom - Max Jones
Nicolas Deslauriers - David Backes (Steel?) - Vinni Lettieri
Josh Mahura - Kevin Shattenkirk
Cam Folwer - Jani Hakanpaa
Ben Hutton - Jacob Larsson
Philipp Grubauer will get the start for the Avalanche again tonight. He comes into this game with a 15-7-0 record and a .923 save percentage.
In the Ducks net, we are likely to see John Gibson. The talented netminder has not had a very good month, however, he has the ability to steal any game - as Avs fans saw earlier this month.
UPDATE: it is Hunter Miska that will be starting for the Avs tonight