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Preview: Penguins slide into the Mile High City

It’s all going down on satellite TV too for the nation to see.

Pittsburgh Penguins v Colorado Avalanche Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images

Two of the best teams in the league collide on National TV today. The hockey world will turn its attention to the Colorado Avalanche hosting the Pittsburgh Penguins for the Avs’ first game on ABC as part of the new TV deal this year.

Outside of the national attention, this game is bound to be a good one. Superstars line both teams' rosters, including the two Halifax natives of Nathan MacKinnon and Sidney Crosby dueling it out for the first time since January 10th, 2020.

Colorado Avalanche

The Avs are coming off an impressive 4-2 win over the San Jose Sharks Thursday night. It was an all-around great performance but it took off thanks to a majestic third-period effort.

Nathan MacKinnon, Valeri Nichushkin, Mikko Rantanen, and Nazem Kadri all did their thing. However, the latter of the four creates some cause for concern as he did take that big hit into the boards off the cross-check of Timo Meier. He played the rest of the game out, missed practice yesterday, and as of the posting of this article, is unknown for this game.

Meanwhile, Artturi Lehkonen was very solid in his home debut. He was unlucky to get his first point in an Avalanche uniform. Today would be a great day to get his first one against an old Eastern Conference rival.

Projected Forwards

Valeri Nichushkin (13) - Nathan MacKinnon (29) - Mikko Rantanen (96)

Artturi Lehkonen (62) - Nazem Kadri (91) - Andre Burakovsky (95)

Alex Newhook (18) - Nico Sturm (78) - J.T. Compher (37)

Andrew Cogliano (11) - Darren Helm (43) - Logan O’Connor (25)

Projected Defenders

Devon Toews (7) - Cale Makar (8)

Jack Johnson (3) - Josh Manson (42)

Kurtis MacDermid (56) - Erik Johnson (6)

Pittsburgh Penguins

The Penguins are concluding their two-game road trip in the Mile High City. Almost a week out after blowing out the Detroit Red Wings 11-2, they come into Denver riding high and looking to climb up towards the top of the Metropolitan Division.

They are coming off of defeating another Avalanche rival, beating the Minnesota Wild 4-3 in OT Thursday night in St. Paul. While it helps the Avalanche in the standings at least, it does give the Penguins some much-needed confidence in their race to catch New York Rangers, and perhaps the Carolina Hurricanes above them in the standings.

We all know the creativity and play style you get with the big names of Crosby, Evgeni Malkin, and Kris Letang. They do have their depth of Jeff Carter and Brian Boyle. Justin Zucker was injured last game and is unknown for this game as well similarly to Kadri. This well-oiled machine will look to win its second straight against a Central Division opponent before heading home.

Projected Forwards

Jake Guentzel (59) - Sidney Crosby (87) - Bryan Rust (17)

Jason Zucker (16) - Evgeni Malkin (71) - Rickard Rakell (67)

Evan Rodrigues (9) - Jeff Carter (77) - Kasperi Kapanen (42)

Brian Boyle (11) - Teddy Blueger (53) - Danton Heinen (43)

Projected Defenders

Brian Dumoulin (8) - Kris Letang (58)

Michael Matheson (5) - John Marino (6)

Mark Friedman (52) - Chad Ruhwedel (2)

Goaltenders

We should expect to see each team’s number one netminder. For the Avs, this will be Darcy Kuemper after having the night off Thursday. For the Pens, it’ll likely be Tristan Jarry getting the nod.