Tonight the Colorado Avalanche welcome the rebooting and Patrick Kane-less Chicago Blackhawks. Surprisingly, the Avalanche were defeated the last time these two teams met in January, but the season series is a one-to-one split. Can the Avalanche impose their will on an inferior Hawks squad and claim the season series?
The talking point heading into last week was that the Colorado Avalanche would face the weakest schedule remaining among all other NHL teams. That isn't up to them, but the Avalanche have gotten while the getting is good. They are riding a five-game winning streak and have a real chance at pushing that to six tonight against a not-so-good Blackhawks team.
Coach says MacDermid good to go, Landeskog still on his timeline, Helm is sick, Manson making progress as is Francouz. pic.twitter.com/gYzX5ywhrE— Marc Moser TV (@RadioMoser) March 20, 2023
What's been most impressive over this winning streak was last week's victories over Toronto and then the Senators the following night. They shut down a high-scoring and very skilled Leafs team and then held on for dear life just 24 hours later against the Sens. The Avalanche are still set to play six more games before April's first, including another back-to-back this Sat/Sun.
Evan Rodrigues — Nathan MacKinnon — Mikko Rantanen
Valeri Nichushkin — J.T. Compher — Denis Malgin
Andrew Cogliano — Lars Eller — Logan O'Connor
Matt Nieto — Alex Newhook — Alex Galchenyuk
Devon Toews — Bowen Byram
Samuel Girard — Jack Johnson
Kurtis MacDermid — Brad Hunt
Note: Captain Gabe Landeskog was spotted skating with the team in red, a positive sign for a guy that hasn't done so the entire season! Cale Makar is day-to-day and Darren Helm is sick and not available. Despite being a full participant, Erik Johnson is not available yet to play either.
Great news to see out of Avs morning skate with Landeskog in a non-contact jersey with the team!— Evan Liu (@LLou1e) March 20, 2023
Also side note, the conversion crew changing from floor to ice overnight is spectacular. Saw a glimpse of it last night while in the building and the work they do is nuts #GoAvsGo pic.twitter.com/hNRU2D34Fi
The tune in Chicago has been pretty negative for a few years now, but it looks like they may have finally closed the book on what was the Chicago Blackhawks by trading away Patrick Kane. The tank is officially on in Chicago, as some names on their roster are nearly unrecognizable. Connor Bedard could be the future of this franchise. The thing is, the right ping pong ball has to fall. Don't worry, though, Chicago fans. It's a deep draft year, and sometimes not securing the first overall is a blessing in disguise. Ask the Avalanche and Cale Makar.
Lukas Reichel — Philipp Kurashev — Andreas Athanasiou
Tyler Johnson — Jason Dickinson — Taylor Raddysh
Mike Harman — Mackenzie Entwistle — Buddy Robinson
Boris Katchouk — Jujhar Khaira — Joey Anderson
Caleb Jones — Seth Jones
Jarred Tinordi — Connor Murphy
Nikita Zaitsev — Wyatt Kaiser
Alex Stalock is the unconfirmed starter who will have his hands full against a hot Avalanche team with not much in front of him. Stalock has been decent for the Hawks statistically, posting a 2.72 GAA and .918 SV%.
I'd expect it to be Alexandar Georgiev's net again after giving up just one goal in a 5-1 rout of the Detroit Red Wings. Georgie is turning in what will be his best season as a pro and first season as a valid number one. He has proven to be just that for this Avalanche squad closing in on 35 wins this season.