Tonight the Colorado Avalanche are set to face off with the Winnipeg Jets at Ball Arena in Denver, CO. The Jets have been a middle-ing team during this NHL season and come into Denver, having just lost in overtime to the Dallas Stars on Wednesday. The Avs have a firm grasp of the number one spot in the Western Conference and return home after beating the Red Wings 5-2.
The Colorado Avalanche remain the league’s most successful team this season, securing seventy-eight of a possible one-hundred and two points, and once again have their sights set on winning the President’s Trophy. If they continue to win at that pace, they should finish the season with one-hundred and twenty-five points.
We did not see Avalanche forward Nathan MacKinnon in their last contest against the Red Wings due to an undisclosed lower-body injury. Head Coach Jared Bednar mentioned that his injury is a day-to-day ailment, so we might see return tonight.
Colorado’s young defenseman Bowen Byram seems to be getting closer to his return, as we saw him in a normal sweater but skating alone earlier in the week. However, the Avalanche aren’t rushing him back as Jared Bednar has said, “the road to recovery is not necessarily a straight line.” The kid can take all the time he needs especially given the team’s success in his stead.
Bowen Byram skated yesterday and will skate today, per Jared Bednar.— Peter Baugh (@Peter_Baugh) February 23, 2022
"But the road to recovery is not necessarily a straight line." Taking it day by day.
Gabriel Landeskog - Mikko Rantanen - Andre Burakovsky
Valeri Nichushkin - Nazem Kadri - JT Compher
Tyson Jost - Alex Newhook - Logan O’Connor
Kurtis MacDermid - Darren Helm - Nicolas Aube-Kubel
Devon Toews - Cale Makar
Jack Johnson - Samuel Girard
Ryan Murray - Erik Johnson
The Jets have had an up and down year. They have lost two straight heading into tonight’s game and are desperate for a turnaround. Winnepeg is destined for just missing a wildcard spot unless they can track down Edmonton or Nashville, who currently hold a six and eleven-point cushion over the Jets. All puns intended.
We’ve heard mutterings of a trade involving Jets forward Mark Scheifele, who is said to be on the radar of many buyers at the trade deadline. Scheifele is a former first-round pick with size and strength up the middle. At twenty-eight years old, it’s no surprise that teams have him on their target list.
Paul Stastny - Mark Scheifele - Blake Wheeler
Kyle Connor - Pierre-Luc Dubois - Evgeny Svechnikov
Jansen Harkins - Adam Lowry - Adam Brooks
Kristian Vesalainen - Dominic Toninato - Austin Poganski
Josh Morrissey - Dylan Demelo
Brenden Dillon - Neal Pionk
Nathan Beaulieu - Nate Schmidt
It will be Darcy Kuemper in net for the Avalanche tonight. He has looked much improved but had a tough go in his last start against the Boston Bruins. He may have let in five against Boston, but it was primarily due to poor defensive play in front of him. Kuemper comes in with a record of twenty-five, six, and two and is posting a .919 save percentage.
Connor Hellebuyck is likely to start between the pipes for the Jets. Hellebuyck is a goalie with a big frame and always poses a tough test for any opposition. He has allowed an average of 2.65 goals a game throughout his career and comes in with a .914 save percentage this season.