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Preview: Looking for a sweet-16 in Pittsburgh

Nathan MacKinnon and Sidney Crosby duel once more.

Colorado Avalanche v Pittsburgh Penguins Photo by Joe Sargent/NHLI via Getty Images

The Colorado Avalanche and the Pittsburgh Penguins face off once again. And of course, we get to see the legendary battle between Sidney Crosby and Nathan MacKinnon, the two Halifax boys.

We will also get to see some familiar faces for the first time since they moved on from the Avs. This includes Lars Eller and Matt Nieto. However, both teams have had opposite starts to the season. Let’s see how they’ve both got on have we?

Colorado Avalanche

Of course, the Avalanche have started their season 6-0-0, their second-longest undefeated streak start to a season in franchise history. Their most recent win came against the New York Islanders on Tuesday’s “Frozen Frenzy” action. 7-4 was the final score when the horn blew.

The win was also the 15th straight regular-season road win, breaking the previous NHL record. With two games remaining on this East Coast road trip, they have a chance to continue increasing the record in what has been an impressive record.

Mikko Rantanen is part of the reason why the record is theirs now. He has five goals and seven assists in six games, averaging 1.5 points per game. If he continues his hot scoring streak to start the season, the Avs will always have a great chance to win on a nightly basis.

Projected Lines

Artturi Lehkonen (62) - Nathan MacKinnon (29) - Mikko Rantanen (96)
Tomas Tatar (90) - Ryan Johansen (12) - Valeri Nichushkin (13)
Miles Wood (28) - Ross Colton (20) - Jonathan Drouin (27)
Andrew Cogliano (11) - Frederik Olofsson (22) - Logan O’Connor (25)

Devon Toews (7) - Cale Makar (8)
Bowen Byram (4) - Sam Girard (49)
Jack Johnson (3) - Josh Manson (42)

Pittsburgh Penguins

The Penguins had a rough outing last time out, also during the “Frozen Frenzy.” It was against another Central Division powerhouse, Dallas Stars, where they fell 4-1 on home ice.

There is a lot of hype around the Penguins entering the season, as they looked to make it back to the postseason once again after missing out last year. This is completely understandable, as they made arguably the biggest move of the offseason for Erik Karlsson.

With the highest-scoring defender last season alongside Evgeni Malkin and Sidney Crosby, you never know what could happen. They’ve had a slow start to the season, but could easily get back in the right direction if they upset the Avalanche.

Projected Lines

Jake Guentzel (59) - Sidney Crosby (87) - Bryan Rust (17)
Reilly Smith (19) - Evgeni Malkin (71) - Rickard Rakell (67)
Drew O’Connor (10) - Lars Eller (20) - Corey Andonvoski (12)
Matt Nieto (83) - Noel Acciari (55) - Jeff Carter (77)

Ryan Graves (27) - Kris Letang (58)
Marcus Pettersson (28) - Erik Karlsson (65)
Pierre-Oliver Joseph (73) - Chad Ruhwedel (2)

Goaltenders

The Penguins will have to roll with Tristian Jarry as Alex Nedeljkovic was sent down to the AHL. Meanwhile, the Avalanche have not decided if they will go with Alexandar Georgiev or Ivan Prosvetov for his first appearance of the season. Georgiev had maybe his worst game of the year against the Isles and could use a night off, but there will be discussions before a decision is made.