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Colorado Avalanche Gameday: Reaching for Cloud 9 without 29

Avalanche look to sweep season series against Chicago

Chicago Blackhawks v Colorado Avalanche Photo by Michael Martin/NHLI via Getty Images

The Colorado Avalanche are back in action tonight in Chicago, taking on the Chicago Blackhawks for the final time this regular season. The Avs are winners of the first three meetings between the two teams this season, with their most recent win being a 2-0 shutout win on home ice Monday night.

Colorado Avalanche:

It’s no secret that the Avalanche have been the hottest team in hockey for the last six weeks now. They’ve won 8 straight games, and are 13-0-1 in January, which . The main concern on the mind of Avs fans however, is the status of star forward, Nathan MacKinnon. The Central Division All-Star Captain didn’t return to Wednesday’s game after a freak accident while taking a hit from Bruins winger, Taylor Hall. The prognosis from the team is an “upper-body injury”, but it’s no secret that MacKinnon’s nose was broken as a result of the hit.

The Avalcnhe recalled F Dylan Sikura from the Colorado Eagles Thursday, which is an indicator that MacKinnon will not travel to Chicago with the team. The Avs will have a better idea of how long he’ll be out this weekend, per ESPN reporter, Emily Kaplan.

In MacKinnon’s absence, Nazem Kadri is likely to center Mikko Rantanen, and Gabriel Landeskog on the top line. Head Coach Jared Bednar isn’t afraid to blend the lines in a game, and when the time for adjustments came last night, Tyson Jost appeared to be the primary placeholder on the 2nd line, so he’s projected to return to that role tonight. Francouz will get the nod in net.

Landeskog (92) - Rantanen (96) - Nichushkin (13)

Newhook (18) - Kaadri (91) - Burakovsky (95)

Jost (17) - Compher (37) - O’Connor (25)

Sikura (9) - Maltsev (11) - Aube-Kubel (16)

Toews (7) - Makar (8)

Girard (49) - J. Johnson (3)

MacDermid (56) - E. Johnson (6)

Francouz (39)

Kuemper (35)

Chicago Blackhawks:

For the Blackhawks, they’re coming into this game off an 8-5 win over the Detroit Red Wings Wednesday night. They had a 4-0 lead going into 1st intermission, but allowed Detroit to crawl back into the game. The Hawks got a big performance from their top-six, with Center, Dylan Strome, supplying a 4-point night, and a hat trick. Marc-Andre Fleury stopped 28-33 shots in the winning effort. After an abysmal 0-7-2 start to the season, the Blackhawks have managed a respectable 16-13-5 record since November 1st, but all signs point to Chicago selling at the trade deadline next month. Fleury will get the nod for Chicago.

Hagel (38) - Strome (17) - Kane (88)

Debrincat (12) - Toews (19) - Lafferty (24)

Kurashev (23) - Dach (77) - Kubalik (8)

Borgstrom (13) - Carpenter (22) - Entwistle (58)

McCabe (6) - S. Jones (4)

de Haan (44) - Murphy (5)

C. Jones (82) - Gustafsson (56)

Fleury (29)

Lankinen (31)

Other Game Notes:

  • D Devon Toews will skate in his 200th NHL Game tonight.
  • This is the first team in the Central Division that the Avs are wrapping up their season series with.
  • Pavel Francouz has not allowed a goal in 127:51 of game time. He comes into this start with both of his last two appearances resulting in shutouts.
  • Puck drop is at 7 p.m. MST, on Altitude TV.