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Morning Skate Diary

Pavel Francouz gets the back-to-back start



Pavel Francouz

LOS ANGELES – Hello from the City of Angel. I love L.A., always have. Well, not the traffic and not the Lakers, but you know what I mean. Staying in the same hotel I stayed during my very first, ever, Avalanche regular-season road trip. Astute, longtime Avs fans will remember that the team’s first regular-season road game as a team was here in Los Angeles, against Wayne Gretzky and the Kings at the old Great Western Forum. The Kings won the game, against Stephane Fiset in goal.

Gretzky had two assists in a 4-2 Kings victory, with Joe Sakic scoring both goals for the  Avs.

That was my first trip to California in my life, and I was just blown away when I saw those palm trees outside the LAX airport. It’s still a wonder to me.

I took my first Alaska Airlines flight ever today. Safe, smooth flight, though I didn’t love it when the flight attendants blew right past my row and never offered anything to drink. Me and my row mate never were offered anything.

I’d say the flight was one-third full and many people had masks on. The coronavirus obviously had a lot to do with that.

So, about tonight’s game:

Pavel Francouz gets the start in net. He will play his third game in four nights, including this back-to-back. I went over some of the reasons why I thought this would happen in my game review from last night in San Jose.

If the Avs were 12 points back of the division and mostly locked into their playoff seeding, I think Michael Hutchinson would have gotten the start tonight. But it is possible that the Avs could take over the Western Conference lead, with a win tonight and a Blues loss to Florida. The Avs want to finish as high as they can.

With Philipp Grubauer possibly coming back by next week, we may not see Hutchinson start another game – especially if the Avs are just one win away all the time from taking the conference/division lead.

As for the rest of the lineup, I’m told there are a couple of guys who might be “game-time decisions”, which helps explain why Martin Kaut was recalled today.

The Kings, by the way, have won five in a row and are 7-2-1 in the last 10. This isn’t going to be any cakewalk tonight.

See you then.

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