The Avalanche aim to take a 2-0 season series lead over the Vegas Golden Knights tonight at Ball Arena in Denver, CO. These two clubs faced each other early in the regular season. A lot has happened for both organizations since late October, including Colorado weathering a monsoon of injuries and Vegas putting the league on notice by winning nine straight. How will tonight’s matchup shake out?
The Colorado Avalanche has had a tough go of it as of late. At least in terms of results. They’ve blown a couple of third-period leads, have come out flat too many times, and are amidst a three-game losing streak. Something that only happened twice last season has now occurred three times just three months into the 2022-23 campaign. Still, if you take a deeper look at what is happening in Colorado with a score of injured players, one can’t help but be impressed with how they’ve managed to hang on in the standings.
Nathan MacKinnon did return in 2022’s finale against the Maple Leafs, but despite bringing a bit of zip back to a wounded lineup, he did not find the scoresheet in a 6-2 defeat. Before his injury, MacKinnon was dropping dimes. In fact, despite missing eleven games, he still leads the team with 26 apples. I don’t imagine that will last long.
I must mention how well J.T. Compher has been playing in his role at 2C. If you prorate his stats to the end of the regular season, he’s on pace to score 51 points. That would be 18 more than his career-high. The kid keeps quitting the doubters and is seemingly making his return less likely once the season ends and his contract is up. It may come down to the Avalanche not being able to afford him.
It turns out JTC has gotten the most extended look and seen the most success in the 2C role. Who would have thunk it?
Not sure why so many Avs fans want Newhook to get the look at 2C before JTC. He was incredibly clutch in the playoffs yet again. #GoAvsGo— Adrian Hernandez (@AdoHernandez27) September 8, 2022
Colorado will get some much needed reinforcements tonight as Jared Bednar confirmed both Darren Helm and Martin Kaut’s return to the lineup. Thanks to our trusty community for pointing this news out in the comments!
Coach says Kaut and Helm are in tonight. Georgiev will start. Manson will start skating tomorrow. Landeskog is not anywhere remotely close to returning. pic.twitter.com/sTh40APqYW— Marc Moser TV (@RadioMoser) January 2, 2023
Artturi Lehkonen — Nathan MacKinnon — Mikko Rantanen
Evan Rodrigues — J.T. Compher — Logan O’Connor
Andrew Cogliano — Ben Meyers — Denis Malgin
Kurtis MacDermid (Darren Helm) — Alex Newhook — Jacob MacDonald (Martin Kaut)
Devon Toews — Cale Makar
Samuel Girard — Erik Johnson
Andreas Englund — Brad Hunt
Vegas Golden Knights
The Golden Knights are starting to look like the team that made the Stanley Cup Final in their first year as an organization. To say they have gone the unconventional route would be putting it lightly. After essentially gaming the expansion draft system, they have acquired and redistributed some severe talent and hope to make a cup run this season with Jack Eichel and Mark Stone at the helm.
Mike Amadio — Chandler Stephenson — Mark Stone
Reilly Smith — William Karlsson — Phil Kessel
Will Carrier — Nicolas Roy — Keegan Kolesar
Jonas Rondbjerg — Jake Leschyshyn — Sheldon Rempal
Nicolas Hague — Alex Pietrangelo
Brayden McNabb — Daniil Miromanov
Ben Hutton — Brayden Pachal
Alexandar Georgiev started the season hot but has leveled off both in terms of success and stats. He was top five in goals saved above expected back in November but has dropped to 15th among goalies who’ve played at least 18 games. He will get likely get the nod for Colorado tonight.
Logan Thompson will be between the pipes for Vegas. Thompson has had a modest career and performs almost precisely along with his career averages. Posting a .915 SV% and 2.64 GAA.