The Colorado Avalanche continue on their three-game road trip, the second of the three occurring Saturday night in Washington D.C. It involves a key matchup between Alex Ovechkin and the Washington Capitals.
In an Eastern Conference that is all sorts of crazy right now (look at the New Jersey Devils leading the Metro and the Caps being out of the playoffs), Washington needs to climb up the standings sooner rather than later. Tonight would be a good night for them at Capital One Arena.
The Avs are coming off maybe their weirdest win in franchise history. They put up 15 shots on goal in their first game of this trip against the Carolina Hurricanes. Meanwhile, the Canes put up 48 shots on goal. Somehow, someway, the Avs won 3-2 in overtime.
They have Artturi Lehkonen to thank, who loves scoring game-winners. His teammates helped him out along the way, as the first line continues to roll with Mikko Rantanen and Nathan MacKinnon. Also, the power play keeps up their hot streak to start the year.
They went 1-for-3 on the power play, keeping up their league-leading 36.7% conversion rate on the man advantage. Evan Rodrigues has a handful of power-play goals, including the one on Thursday night. Despite the injuries all down the lineup, he and the rest of the top six look to make it two straight wins.
Artturi Lehkonen (62) - Nathan MacKinnon (29) - Mikko Rantanen (96)
Evan Rodrigues (9) - Alex Newhook (18) - Martin Kaut (61)
Andrew Cogliano (11) - J.T. Compher (37) - Logan O’Connor (25)
Dryden Hunt (22) - Jayson Megna (12) - Anton Blidh (36)
Devon Toews (7) - Cale Makar (8)
Jacob MacDonald (26) - Josh Manson (42)
Andreas Englund (88) - Erik Johnson (6)
The Caps are coming off a tough 5-4 shootout loss away to the St. Louis Blues on Thursday night. While they got a big point out of it early in the season, they sure wish they could’ve gotten two out of the Blues who have struggled to start the year themselves.
In goal for the Caps is a new name to them, but one which is very familiar to Avalanche fans. The name is Darcy Kuemper. Kuemper was with the Avs last season and helped them en route to winning the Stanley Cup.
However, when Colorado couldn’t meet his demands, he took his talents out East to his new team, where he’s 5-8 with 2.73 goals against average, and a .911 save percentage. He’s given up 36 goals this year in his slow start but does have a shutout against the Nashville Predators and will look to heat himself up against his former side.
Alex Ovechkin (8) - Evgeny Kuznetsov (92) - Aliaksei Protas (59)
Sonny Milano (15) - Dylan Strome (17) - Conor Sheary (73)
Connor McMichael (24) - Lars Eller (20) - Anthony Manta (39)
Marcus Johansson (90) - Nic Dowd (26) - Garnet Hathaway (21)
Erik Gustafsson (56) - John Carlson (74)
Martin Fehervary (42) - Nick Jensen (3)
Matt Irwin (52) - Trevor van Riemsdyk (57)
The aforementioned Kuemper should get the start against his former team and will be chomping at the bit to play against the Avs. Meanwhile, his replacement in Alexandar Georgiev should be getting the start after Pavel Francouz made 46 saves on Thursday night.