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Colorado Avalanche Gameday: Return of the Mack

Nathan MacKinnon returns to the lineup and looks to continue the team’s point streak

Colorado Avalanche v Dallas Stars Photo by Glenn James/NHLI via Getty Images

Division rivalries continue today with an afternoon matinee featuring the Colorado Avalanche and Dallas Stars. Right before the Super Bowl, the Avs will look to be even more super and extend their point streak to 19 games.

They’ll also look to extend their lead at the top of the Central Division. They’re currently nine points up on the Minnesota Wild, holding the largest division lead across the league. The Avs are eyeing to keep the Stars out of the playoff race in this first of two home-and-home games.

Colorado Avalanche

The Avs are still the hottest team in the league. This will be their second game back from the All-Star break, looking to continue their solid form after a hard 3-2 win against the two-time Stanley Cup champion Tampa Bay Lightning on Thursday night.

They completed this great performance all without their star Center Nathan MacKinnon. After being plagued with a broken nose, broken cheekbone and concussion after taking a hit from the Boston Bruins’ Taylor Hall before the break, he will return to the lineup today more likely than not with a full shield helmet.

Full shield MacKinnon will be dangerous and looking to get back on track, joining the dominance Nazem Kadri has been on. He’s on a six game point streak, looking to extend it to seven with a mostly healthy lineup.

Forwards

Gabriel Landeskog (92) - Nathan MacKinnon (29) - Mikko Rantanen (96)

Valeri Nichushkin (13) - Nazem Kadri (91) - Andre Burakovsky (95)

Logan O’Connor (25) - Alex Newhook (18) - J.T. Compher (37)

Darren Helm (43) - Tyson Jost (17) - Nicolas Aube-Kubel (16)

Defenders

Devon Toews (7) - Cale Makar (8)

Jack Johnson (3) - Samuel Girard (49)

Ryan Murray (28) - Erik Johnson (6)

Dallas Stars

The Stars are sitting on the outside, looking in to the playoff picture by three points behind the Anaheim Ducks. They are looking to get back to the postseason after missing out last year due to COVID causing scheduling nightmares, the Texas blizzards, and falling in production on ice.

The Stars are coming off a heroic 4-3 OT win against the Winnipeg Jets on Friday night. They have also gotten the better of the Avs this season, beating them 3-1 in Dallas in November in a disappointing performance from Colorado.

We’ll get a good look at Joe Pavelski, who is on the radar of Joe Sakic and the Avalanche front office for a possible trade before the deadline. Pavelski was the Central Division’s All-Star captain last weekend, rocking 19 goals and 29 assists on the season. His depth and veteran status could help the Avs later on this year, but he will look to lead the Stars to victory today.

Forwards

Jason Robertson (21) - Roope Hintz (24) - Joe Pavelski (16)

Jamie Benn (14) - Tyler Seguin (91) - Denis Gurianov (34)

Michael Raffl (18) - Luke Glendening (11) - Joel Kiviranta (25)

Tanner Kero (64) - Jacob Peterson (40) - Alexander Radulov (47)

Defenders

Esa Lindell (23) - John Klingberg (3)

Ryan Suter (20) - Miro Hiskanen (4)

Joel Hanley (39) - Jani Hakanpaa (2)

Goaltending

Darcy Kuemper went toe-to-toe with Andrei Vasilevskiy on Thursday and came out on top. He seems to have earned the start today and number one spot. For the Stars, it will be Braden Holtby in the crease who has found a resurgence in form in Texas.