After an intense road grind against the Maple Leafs, Colorado will need a strong start in Ottawa to extend their winning streak on the second half of a back to back. Against a rested Senators team on home ice, the Avs will need to maintain their excellent defensive play of late and get out to an early lead as they’ll likely have a hard time finding the legs for a comeback.
Coming off three straight wins, the Avalanche will look to build on their recent stalwart defensive play against the young Senators. Buoyed by the consistent goal scoring of Nathan MacKinnon and Mikko Rantanen, Colorado has coupled brilliant shutdown play with just enough goal scoring to find ways to win.
Even in their most recent losses to Los Angeles and Seattle, the underlying play for Colorado has been very strong. Seems as though this Avalanche squad took their ugly loss to Dallas to heart and determined not to let anything like that happen again. Against the upstart Sens, they’ll need to dig deep to stay determined with tired legs and lungs.
Colorado Avalanche Projected Lineup
Evan Rodrigues — Nathan MacKinnon — Valeri Nichushkin
Denis Malgin — JT Compher — Mikko Rantanen
Andrew Cogliano — Lars Eller — Logan O’Connor
Alex Galchenyuk — Alex Newhook — Matt Nieto
Devon Toews — Cale Makar
Samuel Girard — Bowen Byram
Jack Johnson — Brad Hunt
The Senators planned to push for the playoffs with their new toy on the backend, the prize of the trade deadline Jakob Chychrun, but they’ve dropped three straight and four of their last five. Not a good start.
But all those losses mean they’ll be extra motivated to take advantage of the back to back home matchup with Colorado. Behind scoring leaders Tim Stutzle and Brady Tkachuk, veteran star Claude Giroux, and a young agile defense, the Sens have the weapons to be a truly dangerous opponent.
But with Cam Talbot on the shelf, goaltending has let Ottawa down of late. If Mads Sogaard steps up, however, they won’t be an easy out.
Ottawa Senators Projected Lineup
Tkachuk - Stützle - Batherson
DeBrincat - Greig - Giroux
Brassard - Pinto - Brown
Gauthier - Gambrell - Watson
Chychrun - Hamonic
Sanderson - Zub
Chabot - Brannstrom
Alexandar Georgiev may get the night off on the back to back if the Avalanche trust Keith Kincaid. They’ll need to find some rest for Georgiev, and this may be the night to do it.
Mads Sogaard started Ottawa’s last game, and is certainly their best option while Talbot and Anton Forsberg are out injured.