Ladies and gentlemen, children and grandparents of all ages, the Colorado Avalanche are finally back.
They will play an NHL hockey game for the first time in almost three weeks. Today, they host an afternoon matinee against the Anaheim Ducks who sit surprisingly in second place in the Pacific Division.
The Avs haven’t played in the regular season in over a year ba dum tiss. They haven’t played since December 16th, 2021 away to the Nashville Predators in a 5-2 loss. This game was overshadowed by a multitude of positive COVID tests on both sides but yet played anyways.
While there were 12 players in COVID protocol for the Avs over the break, they are almost all healthy now. It will be the closest the Avs have been to fully healthy lineup all season long. This includes the anticipated return of Bowen Byram from head injury to the defensive pairing.
However, Valeri Nichushkin picked up an upper-body injury in practice this week and is out day-to-day. He will miss the next couple of games while Kurtis MacDermid will fill his role at forward.
Gabriel Landeskog (92) - Nathan MacKinnon (29) - Mikko Rantanen (96)
J.T. Compher (37) - Nazem Kadri (91) - Andre Burakovsky (95)
Logan O’Connor (25) - Alex Newhook (18) - Nicolas Aube-Kubel (16)
Tyson Jost (17) - Darren Helm (43) - Kurtis MacDermid (56)
Devon Toews (7) - Cale Makar (8)
Samuel Girard (49) - Bowen Byram (4)
Erik Johnson (6) - Jack Johnson (3)
The Ducks are still on an impressive run heading into the New Year, sitting comfortably in a playoff spot. The young team will be without their star Trevor Zegras, who is out through COVID Protocol.
The Ducks have played two games since the Christmas break and are surely warmer and more game-pace ready than the Avs are. They are coming off of a 3-1 loss to the Vegas Golden Knights on Friday, however.
The Avs will look to take advantage of their tough performance in Vegas, but the Ducks have always pestered the Avalanche. Last season, they got the best of the Avs a handful of times and will look to continue that trend this afternoon.
Rickard Rakell (67) - Ryan Getzlaf (15) - Troy Terry (19)
Derek Grant (38) - Isac Lundestrom (21) - Jakob Silfverberg (33)
Sonny Milano (12) - Sam Steel (23) - Vinni Lettieri (28)
Nicolas Deslauries (20) - Trevor Carrick (54) - Buddy Robinson (53)
Hampus Lindholm (47) - Jamie Drysdale (34)
Jacob Larsson (32) - Josh Manson (42)
Simon Benoit (86) - Kevin Shattenkirk (22)
The Avalanche will have a healthy goalkeeping pairing. Pavel Francouz has returned both from injury and tested out of COVID Protocol early thanks to the new five-day quarantine rule. He will back up Darcy Kuemper who gets the nod.
For the Ducks, veteran John Gibson will look to get the Ducks back in the win column and continue to hold their place in the Pacific Division.