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Preview: Big Val likely to return against the Flyers

Valeri Nichushkin participated in the morning skate, and all signs point to his return against Philidelphia.

Philadelphia Flyers v Colorado Avalanche Photo by Michael Martin/NHLI via Getty Images

The NHL will have twelve games this Saturday, one of which will be the Colorado Avalanche vs. the Philidelphia Flyers at Ball Arena. This is the first of two meetings between these clubs this season, but Colorado won last season's series two games to one and outscored the Flyers 12-10 in the 2022-23 season. Will the burgundy and blue bounce back after their loss to Winnipeg, or will the Flyers stretch their win streak to four?

Colorado Avalanche

It wasn't the best of showings against the Jets, but hope is on the horizon. Valeri Nichushkin participated in today's morning skate, and all signs indicate his return. The Avalanche came off flat against a division rival at home in their last go, which is unacceptable.

Nathan MacKinnon was putting on a show and kept the Avalanche in it with the help of Jonathan Drouin and Logan O'Connor. Mikko Rantanen, on the other hand, struggled mightily. Perhaps getting Rantanen back on a line with Big Val will serve as an effective jolt to his system. Speaking of hope on the horizon, Avalanche captain Gabe Landeskog was also spotted at morning skate, and according to Jared Bednar, he will "be around now on a consistent basis."

Projected Lineup:

Valeri Nuchshkin — Nathan MacKinnon — Mikko Rantanen
Tomas Tatar — Ryan Johansen — Jonathan Drouin
Miles Wood — Ross Colton — Logan O'Connor
Andrew Cogliano — Fredrik Olofsson — Joel Kiviranta

Devon Toews — Cale Makar
Bo Byram — Josh Manson
Jack Johnson — Sam Malinski

Note: Cale Makar still looked out of sorts against the Jets, and it could be related to his recent spat with an undisclosed injury. Let's see if he's in the lineup and keep an eye on him.

Philadelphia Flyers

The Flyers' recent success has come from some standout performances from Travis Koncney, Sean Couturier, and company. Still, the Flyers are in second place in their division behind the New York Rangers by seven points. If winning the division is their goal, expect a tough and gritty Flyers team to offer a solid effort tonight.

Projected Lineup:

Tyson Foerster — Sean Couturier — Travis Konecny
Joel Farabee — Scott Laughton — Cam Atkinson
Owen Tippett — Morgan Frost — Bobby Brink
Nicolas Deslauriers — Garnet Hathaway — Marc Staal

Cam York — Travis Sanheim
Nick Seeler — Sean Walker
Egor Zamula — Rasmus Ristolainen

Goaltenders

Jared Bednar is giving the net to Ivan Prosvetov tonight, and for the Flyers, it will be Carter Hart. This will be Prosvetov's fifth start as a Colorado Avalanche, and he's 2-1-1 with a 2.44 GAA and .919 SV%