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Open Thread: Colorado Avalanche vs. Anaheim Ducks (8:00 p.m.)

It’s Colorado Avalanche game day!

NHL: Anaheim Ducks at Colorado Avalanche Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

The Colorado Avalanche have made the quick trip from Arizona to Anaheim for a late-night matchup with the Ducks on the heels of last night’s shootout victory over the Arizona Coyotes. The last time these two teams met, the Ducks bested the Avalanche 5-3. The Avalanche will have won nine of their previous ten games if they secure a victory this evening.

Colorado Avalanche

The hockey community was quick to point out that the Avalanche had the most manageable schedule heading into march, at least in terms of the strength of their opponents. They have taken advantage of a weaker late program, but this month of hockey has arguably been their best since last season’s playoffs outside their competition.

They have the league’s hottest powerplay, scoring in 11 straight games. That includes time without Cale Makar. Makar is the glue to the first powerplay unit for the Avalanche and elevates it from dangerous to legendary. He and Erik Johnson’s return to the lineup benefit every player in the defensive group, as having nearly the entire group allows for a more even distribution of ice time. No more 30-minute nights for Makar, hopefully.

Projected Lineup:

Valeri Nichushkin — Nathan MacKinnon — Mikko Rantanen
Alex Newhook — J.T. Compher — Evan Rodrigues
Denis Malgin — Lars Eller — Matt Nieto
Andrew Cogliano — Darren Helm — Logan O’Connor

Devon Toews — Cale Makar
Samuel Girard — Bowen Byram
Jack Johnson — Erik Johnson

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