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Preview: A fight through the darkness

A win against the Ottawa Senators would brighten the shortest day of the year.

Colorado Avalanche v Ottawa Senators Photo by André Ringuette/NHLI via Getty Images

In this late December clash on the winter solstice is a game between two teams from opposite conferences each looking for a win to prove something. The Ottawa Senators want to get their new head coach Jacques Martin a win before they head home for the holidays and not return empty handed after coming up short thus far on this five-game trip.

The Colorado Avalanche are hoping to change the narrative after a bizarre loss to the Chicago Blackhawks and Devon Toews’ comments thereafter. A win would also allow the Avalanche to leapfrog Winnipeg for the central division lead as they sit idle for the night.

Games against Ottawa have historically been wild high scoring affairs which saw a 7-0 blowout at home last season but also a narrow 5-4 win in Ottawa. With the firepower both of these teams have expect nothing less.

Colorado Avalanche

The Avalanche got an early Christmas gift as defenseman Sam Girard is back with the team. Jared Bednar indicated that Girard will take a little time to get back up to speed but should enter the lineup soon. Great news!

As far as the rest of the lineup Nathan MacKinnon and Ross Colton took the morning skate off but are expected to play tonight. Cale Makar was on the ice and practiced the power play but is still questionable. Ben Meyers was recalled on an emergency basis once again but Andrew Cogliano was present this morning as well so it’s likely Meyers will sit out the game tonight.

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

Miles Wood (28) - Ross Colton (20) - Johnathan Drouin (27)

Andrew Cogliano (11) - Ryan Johansen (12) - Logan O’Connor (25)

Kurtis MacDermid (56) - Frederik Olofsson (22) - Joel Kiviranta (94)

Devon Toews (7) -Josh Manson (42)

Bowen Byram (4) - Sam Malinski (70)

Jack Johnson (3) - Caleb Jones (82)

Ottawa Senators

This is what a second line looks like and will be difficult to contain especially with Claude Giroux enjoying a strong start to the season with 25 points in 27 games. Top top line is formidable as ever with team-leading Tim Stützle posting 30 points thus far. Their depth falls off with some call ups on the lower part of the lineup which could give the Avalanche some good chances for counter-attack.

Brady Tkachuk (7) - Time Stützle (18) - Drake Batherson (18)

Vladimir Tarasenko (91) - Josh Norris (9) - Claude Giroux (28)

Dominik Kubalik (81) - Ridly Grieg (71) - Angus Crookshank (59)

Jiri Smejkal (13) - Mark Kastelic (12) - Parker Kelly (27)

Jake Sanderson (85) - Artem Zub (2)

Jakob Chychrun (6) - Travis Hamonic (23)

Erik Brannstrom (26) - Jacob Bernard-Docker (24)

Goaltenders

Both starters are expected to mind the nets for this game on the shortest day of the year. Alexandar Georgiev is looking for some consistency to push his .897 save percentage higher and to pull out a big win for the Avalanche. For the Senators Joonas Korpisalo is looking to do the same as the Senators make a big push to right the ship before the first half of the season concludes.