The Colorado Avalanche and Dallas Stars are set to drop the puck tonight in 'Big D.' These two central division foes sit at the top of the divisional standings. Will Colorado's Stanley Cup prowess prevail? Or are they on a collision course with a Stars squad that has what it takes to make their own cup run?
The Avalanche are currently one of the most injured teams in the NHL. You wouldn't think so if you just looked at their record, but virtually all of Colorado's success this season has been earned by a shorthanded roster. That says a lot about the leadership of this group and the coaching staff.
Nathan MacKinnon, Mikko Rantanen, Cale Makar, and Artturi Lehkonen have all stepped up. Young guys like Logan O'Connor and Martin Kaut have also contributed with elevated play. Alex Newhook seems to be gaining some steam. Things are good in Colorado for the time being.
Artturi Lehkonen — Nathan MacKinnon — Mikko Rantanen
Alex Newhook — Evan Rodriguez — Martin Kaut
Andrew Cogliano — J.T. Compher — Logan O'Connor
Dryden Hunt — Jayson Megna — Anton Blidh
Devon Toews — Cale Makar
Jacob MacDonald — Josh Manson
Andreas Englund — Erik Johnson
Note: Avalanche head coach Jared Bednar told Conor McGahey of Altitude sports that we could expect defender Samuel Girards to return 'as soon as Dallas.' It wasn't clear if he meant tonight's contest or the one between Colorado and Dallas this Saturday.
Our very own podcast, Mile High Hockey Lab, had Wes Lawrence of Defending Big D on this week's broadcast, and he mentioned this week being a barometer for what to expect in Dallas. The Stars are welcoming the return of their top-flight goaltender Jake Oettinger and are hoping to extend their current win streak to three games. They passed the test of beating the New York Islanders, but defeating the Avalanche will accelerate expectations even more.
Stars' new head coach Pete DeBoer is no stranger to Colorado Avalanche fans and seems to have the Avalanche figured out as much as any opposing coach in the league. What will he do to compete with the defending cup champs?
Jason Robertson — Roope Hintz — Joe Pavelski
Mason Marchment — Jamie Benn — Tyler Seguin
Matej Blumel — Wyatt Johnston — Ty Dellandrea
Joel Kiviranta — Radek Faksa — Luke Glendening
Miro Heiskanen — Colin Miller
Ryan Suter — Nils Lundkvist
Esa Lindell — Jani Hakanpaa
Note: Forward Roope Hintz will be a game-time decision for the Stars.
For Colorado, it will be Alexandar Georgiev in the blue paint tonight. Georgiev has won eight of his eleven starts and has one shutout with a .930 SV% through those eleven starts.
Jake Oettinger will get the nod for Dallas. It may surprise some, but Georgiev has been better than Oettinger in both wins and SV% with just one more start.
In honor of #hockeyfightscancer, we are proud to announce Jake Oettinger's initiative with HopeKids!☀— Dallas Stars Foundation (@DS_Foundation) November 20, 2022
Yesterday, we hosted Emma and her family. She recently "rang the bell" and is celebrating being cancer free from Hepatoblastoma! Thank you for giving us hope Emma! pic.twitter.com/OYo8uYsJYn