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Open Thread: Boston Bruins vs. Colorado Avalanche (7:00 p.m.)

It’s a Colorado Avalanche gameday!

NHL: DEC 03 Avalanche at Bruins Photo by Fred Kfoury III/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The Colorado Avalanche will host the Boston Bruins in what is a potential Stanley Cup Final preview and at the very least, a significant measuring stick game for the Avs. Yet again Boston is one of the best teams in the NHL, while the Avalanche are looking to bounce back from a loss against Florida where they dug themselves a deep hole early.

Colorado Avalanche

The Avs are in the midst of a good stretch of hockey that could be better. They have won 9 of their last 13, but the losses stick out like a sore thumb. Getting drubbed at Winnipeg. Losing at lowly Chicago. Blowing a 4-0 late 2nd period lead in Arizona, falling down 3-0 to Florida before people could even reach their seats. The Avs are largely playing well, but their losses are immensely disappointing right now.

They have a chance to get that good feeling back against a team which has lost in regulation just eight times this year. This is a big game for Jonathan Drouin against a hard-nosed defensive team to prove that this recent hot streak is more than just that and that he can in fact go toe to toe with the biggest, baddest team on the block as a legitimate top-line forward.

The lineup will likely remain the same as it was against Florida, which will likely frustrate the mounting number of Avs fans wondering exactly why Kurtis MacDermid continually suits up and then only plays a handful of shifts (**raises hand**). If the idea is that he’s a big brute who can make the other team think twice about making a run at Colorado’s best players, he needs to actually be on the ice to have that kind of impact. No one is afraid of someone who is stapled to the bench. He played just four and a half minutes against Florida—compared to seven and a half for his two other fourth-line mates—and I wouldn’t expect a much different dynamic if he suits up tonight. It’s crystal clear that Jared Bednar does not trust him to play real minutes against good teams, but it’s anyone’s guess at this point as to why he still suits him up for those games.

Colorado Avalanche Projected Lineup

Jonathan Drouin (27) - Nathan MacKinnon (29) - Mikko Rantanen (96)
Logan O’Connor (25) - Ross Colton (20) - Valeri Nichushkin (13)
Andrew Cogliano (11) - Ryan Johansen (12) - Joel Kiviranta (94)
Kurtis MacDermid (56) - Frederik Olofsson (22) - Ben Meyers (59)

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

Alexandar Georgiev (40)

Boston Bruins 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)

Jeremy Swayman (1)

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