Finally, the Colorado Avalanche return.
After almost five days off, the Avs head back to the ice and play against the Winnipeg Jets, separated by only four points in the standings. With the Minnesota Wild’s win against the Columbus Blue Jackets on Thursday night, an Avs win will take them back level with them.
Of course, both teams are in the midst of the playoff race in what is a very tightly-contested Western Conference. Colorado looks to keep riding high in a challenging place to play.
The Avs had some time off and had a chance to rest with this five-day break. Their last game ended with an unbelievable comeback 6-5 win over the Edmonton Oilers in overtime.
The win was Colorado’s fourth straight in a critical stretch of the season. All of the wins have come against teams fighting for playoff positions. Plus, other results have benefitted the Avs elsewhere.
They will be without Cale Makar who is out at least for the weekend with a concussion. Brad Hunt has been called up in his place, alongside Jonas Johansson still covering for the injured Pavel Francouz. While Francouz might not play, Hunt and company will look to make it five straight wins with an atypical formation.
Artturi Lehkonen (62) - Nathan MacKinnon (29) - Valeri Nichushkin (13)
Evan Rodrigues (9) - J.T. Compher (37) - Mikko Rantanen (96)
Denis Malgin (81) - Alex Newhook (18) - Logan O’Connor (25)
Andrew Cogliano (11) - Matt Nieto (83)
Sam Girard (49) - Devon Toews (7)
Bowen Byram (4) - Josh Manson (42)
Andreas Englund (88) - Kurtis MacDermid (56)
Brad Hunt (17)
The Jets have been falling off a cliff over their last few games. This includes their most recent affair with the New York Islanders, as they lost 2-1 on Long Island in regulation.
Winnipeg has lost three of their last four games, in a crucial point in the season where they were trying to catch the Dallas Stars and keep the Minnesota Wild and Colorado Avalanche behind them.
The usual names of Mark Scheifele, Pierre Luc-Dubois, and Connor Hellebuyck will look to keep Winnipeg near the top of the Central Division. A win over the Avs Friday night would widen the gap between the two but also give the Jets the Central Division lead.
Kyle Connor (81) - Marck Scheifele (55) - Mason Appleton (22)
Nikolaj Ehlers (27) - Pierre Luc-Dubois (80) - Blake Wheeler (26)
Morgan Barron (36) - Adam Lowry (17) - Karson Kuhlman (20)
Saku Maenalanen (8) - Kevin Stenlund (28) - Sam Ganger (89)
Josh Morrissey (44) - Dylan Demelo (2)
Brenden Dillon (5) - Neal Pionk (4)
Dylan Samberg (54) - Nate Schmidt (88)
We should see both number ones for the Jets and the Avs, with Connor Hellebuyck and Alexandar Georgiev respectively.