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Colorado Avalanche Gameday: The Colorado Eagles host the Boston Bruins

The Avs will suit up their most short-handed squad of the season against the league’s best team.

NHL: Colorado Avalanche at Boston Bruins Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

The Colorado Avalanche are set for their rematch of last week’s beatdown in Boston, and for those who asked if it could get any worse that night, your question has been answered: yes, yes it can.

Nathan Mackinnon will “miss some time” after picking up an upper-body injury in Philadelphia in the last game against the Flyers. This is going to be the most short-handed Avalanche team we have seen in quite some time, which is the last thing you want to hear going into a matchup against the NHL’s best club.

Colorado Avalanche

The Avs are coming off a tough road trip where they went 1-3 against Winnipeg, Buffalo, Boston, and Philadelphia, and normally you’d think a return home is a cause for optimism. While there are some hopeful signs on the horizon (Valeri Nichushkin and Gabriel Landeskog skating for example), for tonight’s game there is little positivity one can find. Colorado is missing five of its top six forwards and two of its top four defensemen, as the team currently has six AHL forwards and two AHL defensemen in the lineup. It’s closer to a fact than a joke to say that the Colorado Eagles are playing their games at Ball Arena right now.

The lineup is very much in flux, as Colorado recalled Sampo Ranta, Ben Meyers, Cal Burke (who is making his NHL debut!), and Andreas Englund from the Eagles while reassigning Alex Galchenyuk to Loveland. They also lost Jayson Megna to Anaheim who claimed him off waivers. It’s really anyone’s guess what these lines will look like, and there is a good chance that the third-period lines will be very different from the first-period ones. Here is the best guess at what the Colorado Avalanche will look like tonight.

Projected Lines

Alex Newhook (18) – Mikko Rantanen (96) – Charles Hudon (54)

Jean-Luc Foudy (93) – J.T. Compher (37) – Logan O’Connor (25)

Andrew Cogliano (11) – Ben Meyers (59) — Martin Kaut (61)

Dryden Hunt (22) – Cal Burke (68) – Sampo Ranta (75)

Cale Makar (8) – Devon Toews (7)

Erik Johnson (6) – Samuel Girard (49)

Andreas Englund (88) – Jacob MacDonald (26)

Boston Bruins

Boston is the best team in hockey, as they lead the league in goal differential and are 2 points behind the league-leading New Jersey Devils but with two games in hand. They have lost just three games in regulation this season, and are coming off a two-week stretch where they went 3-0 against both of last year’s Stanley Cup Finalists and are looking to make it 4-0 with a win tonight.

The Bruins lost their first home game of the season on Monday night, as the Vegas Golden Knights jumped out to an early 3-0 lead before holding on for a shootout victory. The B’s are likely itching to take out their frustrations on a severely short-handed Avalanche squad and will likely line up the same way they did against the Avs last week.

Projected Lineup

Brad Marchand (63) — Patrice Bergeron (37) — Jake DeBrusk (74)

Pavel Zacha (18) — David Krejci (46) — David Pastrnak (88)

Taylor Hall (71) — Charlie Coyle (13) — Trent Frederic (11)

Nick Foligno (17) - Tomas Nosek (92) - A.J. Greer (10)

Hampus Lindholm (27) - Charlie McAvoy (73)

Derek Forbort (28) - Connor Clifton (75)

Matt Grzelcyk (48) - Brandon Carlo (25)


Colorado needs all the help they can get, which means that starter Alexandar Georgiev could get the opportunity to steal this game, while it seems likely that Linus Ullmark could make it back into the Boston lineup for the first time since his injury scare against Carolina on November 25. That said, given the incredible uncertainty of the Avalanche lineup right now, your guess is as good as anyone’s as to who will be suiting up in net tonight.