Coming off a complete 6-3 victory over the New Jersey Devils, the Colorado Avalanche plays host to the struggling Seattle Kraken - the team that sent that home early last postseason. But these Kraken are not the same as last season - their depth scoring has dried up as their unsustainably high team shooting percentage came back to earth this year.
Still, the Kraken play a pesky forechecking style that has given this Avalanche group trouble since they came into the league, so Colorado will have to continue the strong possession play that led to the victory over New Jersey if they want to build on it with another.
The Avalanche are a perfect 8-0 in games they score a goal. That’s the bottom line with this team, and its excellent. The problem is those other three games they were shutout and lost. In those games, the Avs underlying possession numbers were strong but the offensive creativity just wasn’t there.
This team is chock full of offensive talent, so those losses were infuriating to the fanbase, but the underlying play remained strong in every game and Colorado proved against New Jersey that they can still get scoring throughout the lineup. That Logan O’Colton Wood third line played an excellent game, contributing two goals despite Colton’s second period game misconduct for cross checking Timo Meier in the mouth.
Ondrej Pavel made his Avalanche debut but was then sent back to the Eagles, and Riley Tufte was brought up. Pavel played a fine game but didn’t stand out and wasn’t the penalty kill faceoff ace the coaching staff was looking for, so Riley Tufte, who was called up this morning will likely take his spot in the lineup.
Jonathan Drouin — Nathan MacKinnon — Mikko Rantanen
Artturi Lehkonen — Ryan Johansen — Valeri Nichushkin
Miles Wood — Ross Colton — Logan O’Connor
Andrew Cogliano — Freddy Olofsson — Tomas Tatar
Devon Toews — Cale Makar
Bo Byram — Sam Girard
Jack Johnson — Josh Manson
NOTE: Nichushkin, who missed practice for the birth of his daughter, and Freddy Oloffson, who was dinged up last game, are both expected to play and if so someone needs to come out of the lineup for Tufte to play. Tomas Tatar’s seven minutes of time on ice last game might indicate that it is him or perhaps Jonathan Drouin gives up his top six spot for Tufte.
When Colorado took a road trip up the coast to face the Kraken in October, Seattle had yet to win a game. That’s no longer true but things haven’t gotten much better in the Pacific Northwest, as the Kraken have struggled to score.
They also lost top six winger Jordan Eberle after his leg was cut by a skate blade in practice, so to help bolster their offense, Seattle called up young Shane Wright. Wright has four goals and two assists in seven games with the AHL Coachella Valley Firebirds, consistent scoring that the NHL club desperately needs to translate in his callup.
Jared McCann — Matthew Beniers — Kailer Yamamoto
Jaden Schwartz — Alexander Wennberg — Shane Wright
Eeli Tolvanen — Yanni Gourde — Oliver Bjorkstrand
Devin Shore — Ryan Winterton — Tye Kartye
With Seattle’s struggles, this game is the best opportunity to give Georgiev a night off and see a little more of Ivan Prosvetov. He’ll face off against former Av Philipp Grubauer.