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Preview: Rematch in Beantown

Colorado heads to Boston for their second match with the Bruins in as many weeks.

NHL: JAN 08 Bruins at Avalanche Photo by Dustin Bradford/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Just 10 days ago, the Boston Bruins came to Ball Arena and took Colorado to overtime before falling 4-3. Tonight the Avalanche head to their barn looking to complete the season sweep.

Coming off a comeback victory over the Ottawa Senators that saw depth forwards step up and contribute offense in a big way, the Avalanche need to find a way to keep pucks out of their own net so they can continue to outscore their goaltending problems. Though both teams boast a goaltender named to the NHL All-Star Game, the Avs team save percentage is a dismal .896 while Boston’s sits near the top of the league at .919.

That’s a clear advantage for the Bruins, so Colorado will need to defend well and play their recently dominant puck possession game to limit Boston’s scoring chances and pepper the B’s net with shots.

Colorado Avalanche

The win in Ottawa in a duel of rookie goaltenders was an excellent bounceback game after a slog in Montreal that snapped a three-game win streak the Avs began with their win over Boston. Justus Annunen outplayed Mads Sogaard but didn’t play well enough to stake a decisive claim to the backup job over Ivan Prosvetov.

Regardless, starting netminder Alexandar Georgiev got the night off to rest up for this matchup, and hopefully can find the upper end of his game in this up-and-down season. In front of him, the Avalanche will ice a nearly healthy group of blueliners with rookie Sam Malinski continuing to play well in place of injured Bowen Byram.

The forward corps has been productive despite significant absences behind the top line of Jonathan Drouin, Nathan MacKinnon, and Mikko Rantanen. Jason Polin netted his first career goal, Logan O’Connor continued his hot streak with a goal of his own, and Miles Wood potted a highlight-reel finish in his return from illness.

Wood’s hard-nosed style was clearly missed while he was out, and he made his mark all over that game. He’ll need to keep that momentum going as the Avs face a deep Boston team that can grind with four strong lines.

Projected Lines

Jonathan Drouin (27) - Nathan MacKinnon (29) - Mikko Rantanen (96)
Miles Wood (28) - Ross Colton (20) - Logan O’Connor (25)
Andrew Cogliano (11) - Ryan Johansen (12) - Joel Kiviranta (94)
Kurtis MacDermid (56) - Fredrik Olofsson (22) - Jason Polin (41)

Devon Toews (7) - Cale Makar (8)
Sam Girard (49) - Josh Manson (42)
Jack Johnson (3) - Sam Malinski (70)

Boston Bruins

Since that loss in Denver, the Bruins have gone 2-2 with losses in Arizona and Vegas followed by an OT win in St. Louis and a dominant 3-0 shutout back home against the Jack Hughes-less New Jersey Devils.

With Linus Ullmark banged up, Jeremy Swayman has staked his claim to the B’s net and is playing at such a high level he got the All-Star nod over his Vezina Trophy-winning counterpart.

The Bruins are largely healthy with both Matthew Poitras and Brandon Carlo expected to return from brief injury absences tonight, though both are slated to be game-time decisions. Derek Forbort remains out, though he’s not a lock for their Top-6 given the play of Parker Wotherspoon in his absence.

Up front, Boston continues to get by on the prowess of star wingers David Pastrnak and Brad Marchand despite their lack of high-end talent at center. They had two points each in the win over New Jersey and Marchand in particular is always a thorn in the Avs side when these two teams square off.

Projected Lineup

Pavel Zacha (18) — Morgan Geekie (39) — David Pastrnak (88)
Brad Marchand (63) — Charlie Coyle (13) — Jake DeBrusk (74)
Danton Heinen (43) — Matthew Poitras (51) — Trent Frederic (11)
Jakub Lauko (94) — Jesper Boqvist (70) — Oskar Steen (62)

Matt Grzelcyk (48) — Charlie McAvoy (73)
Hampus Lindholm (27) — Brandon Carlo (25)
Parker Wotherspoon (29) — Kevin Shattenkirk (12)


It’ll be a rematch of the All Stars, Swayman v Georgiev, which Georgiev narrowly won in OT last time out despite his struggles.