With a string of games against teams that aren’t the Vegas Knights and St. Louis Blues, this is the time when the Avalanche need to put a number of wins behind them and move up the standings. Currently tied with the Wild at 25 points, the Avs will have to take advantage of the light schedule in order to catch up with Vegas at the top of the West Division.
This will be the first game of a nine game home stand for the Avs as they will be playing 15 of their next 17 games in Denver.
Luckily, it seems one of the team’s two “wounded” superstars is expected to be back in the lineup tonight.
It appears as though catastrophe was averted as Nathan MacKinnon is not expected to miss any time after he took a vicious hit to the head from San Jose Sharks forward Joachim Blichfeld Wednesday night. The Avs superstar left the game and was obviously not in a great place after the hit but he will be on the ice this morning for the team’s game-day skate and assuming everything is alright, he will take his usual place as the catalyst in the Avs lineup.
Over the past two weeks, it’s been Mikko Rantanen and Nazem Kadri who have led the way for the Avalanche recording nine and seven points respectively over the last five games. A lot of those points have come as the Avalanche powerplay has produced as the fifth best in the NHL over that time.
Though he’s getting closer to game-action, Cale Makar is expected to remain out of the lineup for the two games this weekend. That said, there is a belief that he should be ready to return sometime next week.
With that news, we are expecting to see the same lineup as Wednesday night.
Gabriel Landeskog - Nathan MacKinnon - Mikko Rantanen
Brandon Saad - Nazem Kadri - Valeri Nichushkin
Andre Burakovsky - J.T. Compher - Joonas Donskoi
Logan O’Connor - Pierre-Edouard Bellemare - Tyson Jost
Ryan Graves - Samuel Girard
Devon Toews - Jacob MacDonald
Daniel Renouf - Conor Timmins
The Ducks come town having lost eight in a row and sitting dead last in the West Division. Max Comtois leads the way with 15 points as the re-building team is starting to move towards a more youthful lineup.
As part of the young lineup, former DU Pioneer Troy Terry has been lining up alongside Comtois and Ryan Gezlaf on the team’s top line.
World Junior start Trevor Zegras is still looking for his first career goal as he plays in his sixth NHL game tonight.
Max Comtois - Ryan Getzlaf - Troy Terry
Sonny Milano - Adam Henrique - Jakob Silfverberg
Trevor Zegras - Isac Lundestrom - Rickard Rakell
Danton Heinen - Sam Steel - David Backes
Josh Mahura - Kevin Shattenkirk
Cam Folwer - Jani Hakanpaa
Ben Hutton - Jacob Larsson
With the teams going back-to-back tonight and tomorrow, we should see all four goalies in net at some point. Last time the Avalanche played two in a row, Coach Bednar gave the first start to Hunter Miska with Philipp Grubauer getting the second. It wouldn’t be surprising if he does the same again this weekend.
As for the Ducks, they are expected to go with John Gibson tonight and Ryan Miller tomorrow.