The Avalanche: (27-9-4)
The Opponent: Anaheim Ducks (12-22-7)
Puck drop: 8:00 p.m. MT
Watch: ALT, KCOP-13, BSW+
Listen: [Radio] Altitude 92.5, AM 950
Colorado looks to extend their dominant stretch against the Ducks tonight. A win would make it four straight against them, and make them 6-1-1 on the season series. Colorado has dominated Anaheim when it comes to points this season, which is what you would expect. However, most of the games have been very close, and Colorado can’t get caught slacking now.
This is their final game before Monday’s NHL Trade Deadline takes place at 3:00pm EST, so we will see if there are any other shake ups in store. Colorado already went out and acquired some depth at goaltending with Devan Dubnyk, let’s see if they add anyone else.
For the Avs, tonight is a chance to further their lead for first place in the division. While every other team has hovered around .500 lately, Colorado has gone 7-1-2 over their last 10 games and now have a four point lead on the Vegas Golden Knights. Granted, Vegas has played one less game than Colorado. Still, tonight is another one where you really need to take points if you are Colorado. Anaheim is a rebuilding team that probably should be selling this deadline.
Lately, Colorado has been one of the best teams in the entire league. Other than an ugly loss to the Minnesota Wild the other night, there haven’t been too many flaws in how Colorado has played. Phillip Grubauer is having an unreal season, Nathan MacKinnon feels like he’s back to scoring every single night... all is well right now.
The game plan tonight for Colorado should be to keep doing what they have done all year against Anaheim, it has clearly found them success. The Avs have speed that the Ducks just can’t keep up with at all times, not to mention a significant gap in on-ice talent. Anaheim has some interesting pieces you need to watch out for, but if Colorado just plays the hockey they are used to, there should be no issues.
Gabriel Landeskog - Nathan MacKinnon - Mikko Rantanen
Brandon Saad - Nazem Kadri - Andre Burakovsky
Valeri Nichushkin - Tyson Jost - Joonas Donskoi
J.T. Compher - Pierre-Edouard Bellemare - Liam O’Brien
Devon Toews - Sam Girard
Ryan Graves - Cale Makar
Kyle Burroughs - Daniel Renouf
This season is one to build for the future for the Ducks. They have already seen young prospects such as Jamie Drysdale and Trevor Zegras for parts of this season, and those names are the future. However, right now they really have a long ways to go until they’re a competitive hockey club again. For management, this season will be acquiring assets at tomorrow’s deadline and looking for a high pick in the draft again. That being said, this team has some pieces that can hurt you if you take them lightly. Rickard Rakell is back in the lineup after being injured.
On the blueline, they have names like Cam Fowler, Josh Manson, and Drysdale like previously mentioned. All of these guys are solid puck movers that can help the Ducks get the puck quickly up the ice. If they want to win today, keeping it a low-event game would be in their best interest. Clog up the middle and make it hard for the Avs skilled players to get much going, then find their opportunities on the counter-attack.
Danton Heinen - Adam Henrique - Jakob Silfverberg
Maxime Comtois - Chace De Leo - Alexander Volkov
Max Jones - Sam Carrick - Troy Terry
Nicolas Deslauriers - David Backes - Alexander Volkov
Cam Fowler - Jani Hakanpaa
Jamie Drysdale - Josh Manson
Ben Hutton - Kevin Shattenkirk