It has been ten calendar days since Cale Makar left a game against the St. Louis Blues in the third with what looked like another head injury. The Avalanche have done nothing but win over those ten days, securing regulation victories in all four contests in that time frame. Makar's potential return looked promising with MacDermid still out and Brad Hunt not being recalled, but not this time. The Devils are among the best teams in the Eastern division and look to secure their 40th win this regular season.
IT'S CALE MAKAR!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!#GoAvsGo pic.twitter.com/dUyWry3Ngi— Colorado Avalanche (@Avalanche) March 1, 2023
Cale Makar is OUT tonight, per the team. #Avs— Jesse Montano (@jessemontano_) March 1, 2023
The Avalanche have control of their destiny in the west and could secure the number one spot in the Central Division tonight if Dallas loses to Arizona in regulation and the Avalanche secure the win. Colorado can extend their current win streak to seven games, the most consecutive victories this season.
Nathan MacKinnon and Mikko Rantanen are operating at total capacity, and guys like JT Compher and Evan Rodrigues are falling in and thriving in elevated roles. Cale Makar's inevitable return will bolster a blue line that has begun to show playoff-like attention to detail. Alexandar Georgiev looks as comfortable as ever in his burgundy threads, and the roster is as healthy as it's been.
With all of yesterday's trade madness, many fans are calling for the Avalanche to get in on the fun. I must remind you all that inaction is action. If the Avalanche remain inactive at the deadline, it's because the potential deals aren't all that beneficial. There's no need to shake up a group amidst its most successful portion of the season when they are finally getting healthy.
Artturi Lehkonen — Nathan MacKinnon — Valeri Nichushkin
Evan Rodrigues — JT Compher — Mikko Rantanen
Andrew Cogliano — Alex Newhook — Logan O'Connor
Matthew Nieto — Ben Meyers — Denis Malgin
Devon Toews — Sam Girard
Bowen Byram — Josh Manson
Note: Kurtis MacDermid is still out, and Brad Hunt was not recalled with Ben Meyers. Not sure how the defensive group is gonna look.
Guess who’s back, back again.#GoAvsGo pic.twitter.com/XzlEpIixMC— Colorado Avalanche (@Avalanche) March 1, 2023
New Jersey Devils
The Devils are set on being a part of the dog fight out east. They are among the teams that made a splash at the deadline by trading for Timo Meier to add to an already talented roster. Former first-overall draft selection Jack Hughes has grown in his short time in the league despite coming in at such a young age. He leads the Devils with 74 points on 36 goals and 38 assists.
Tomas Tatar — Nico Hischier — Dawson Mercer
Yegor Sharangovich — Jack Hughes — Jesper Bratt
Ondrej Palat — Erik Haula — Jesper Boqvist
Miles Wood — Michael McLeod — Nathan Bastian
Jonas Siegenthaler — Dougie Hamilton
Ryan Graves — John Marino
Kevin Bahl — Damon Severson
Note: Timo Meier will not play this evening and is listed as day-to-day.
Timo Meier is likely out tomorrow, Lindy Ruff says. https://t.co/2hp355zzie— Peter Baugh (@Peter_Baugh) February 28, 2023
The Avalanche are going to go with Justus Annunen in their net tonight. The Finnish-born tender represents Colorado's first real shot at drafting and developing a goalie that could become a regular starter in the NHL. Annunen will celebrate his 23rd birthday in just ten days and is undefeated in his two starts in the NHL.
Vitek Vanecek is the unconfirmed starter for the Devils. The second-round draft pick out of the Czech Republic has twenty-five wins this season and just six losses.