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Preview: Avs look to bounce back versus the Blues

After an utterly “embarrassing” loss, Colorado needs to right the ship.

NHL: Anaheim Ducks at Colorado Avalanche Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

The 2022-2023 Colorado Avalanche are nothing but inconsistent. They were riding high, commanding a six-game win streak going into Thursday night’s game against the hapless Anaheim Ducks, who have less regulation wins (7) than any team in the NHL, and they shockingly handed them another one. The Avs coasted through the third, and coach Jared Bednar said the collapse was entirely due to a lack of effort, so it should be interesting to see what kind of intensity the Avs bring to this afternoon’s game against the Blues. This is not a team that has played well enough to be able to coast through games, and if the effort in the 3rd period against the Ducks is a harbinger of things to come, then Colorado will continue their trend of alternating long winning streaks and losing streaks.

Colorado Avalanche

Whether the 2022-2023 Colorado Avalanche are good has basically come down to whether or not Val Nichushkin is in the lineup. When he is, they’re world-beaters and look like proper defending Stanley Cup Champions. When he’s not, they’re the Vancouver Canucks.

Jared Bednar said that Nichushkin is “questionable” today, meaning that we likely will not get final word on his availability until closer to game time and after this piece has been published. If Nichushkin cannot play, these will likely be the lines Colorado trots out against St. Louis.

Projected Lineup

Artturi Lehkonen (62) - Nathan MacKinnon (29) - Evan Rodrigues (9)

Denis Malgin (81) - J.T. Compher (37) - Mikko Rantanen (96)

Andrew Cogliano (11) - Alex Newhook (18) - Logan O’Connor (25)

Matt Nieto (83) - Ben Meyers (59)

Devon Toews (7) - Cale Makar (8)

Sam Girard (49) - Erik Johnson (6)

Kurtis MacDermid (56) - Brad Hunt (17)

Andreas Englund (88)

St. Louis Blues

The Blues are a team stuck in limbo. They have an expensive, aging roster whose best years are likely behind them, and while they only sit 8 points out of a playoff spot, their -25 goal differential (the disastrous Canucks have a -28 differential for comparison), suggests that the Blues are not the contenders we have become used to seeing year-in and year-out. They have lost 5 of their last 7, losing to the actively tanking Chicago Blackhawks and Arizona Coyotes and the just outside-the-playoff picture Buffalo Sabres by a combined score of 15-6 this past week. As bad as Avs fans are feeling about their team coming off what Andrew Cogliano said was an “embarrassing” loss to the (almost) league-worst Ducks, Blues fans have to be feeling worse about the current state of their team.

Ryan O’Reilly is on injured reserve with a broken foot, so he may not suit up for what could be his last trip to Denver in a Blues uniform. Here’s how they’re expected to line up this afternoon.

Projected Lineup

Brandon Saad (20) - Robert Thomas (18) - Jordan Kyrou (25)

Ivan Barbashev (49) - Brayden Schenn (10) - Vladimir Tarasenko (91)

Alexey Toropchenko (13) - Noel Acciari (52) - Tyler Pitlick (9)

Jake Neighbours (63) - Logan Brown (22) - Josh Leivo (17)

Nick Leddy (4) - Colton Parayko (55)

Torey Krug (47) - Justin Faulk (72)

Niko Mikkola (77) - Calle Rosen (43)


It should be a game that features both starters. Pavel Francouz had his worst outing of the season against Anaheim, and Alexandar Georgiev should get the start in net for Colorado’s last game before the All-Star break. Avs fans will likely get a chance to boo Jordan Binnington, as Thomas Greiss started St. Louis’s last game.