WASHINGTON D.C. – The Colorado Avalanche lineup is starting to get a little more normal, as Nathan MacKinnon returned to the ice after testing negative twice for COVID-19. He traveled to the District and will play against the Washington Capitals tonight.
Head coach Jared Bednar said, and as first reported last night by Colorado Hockey Now, MacKinnon flew into D.C. last night and got his second negative test back on Monday afternoon. For him, it’s a relief to have him back, especially with Gabriel Landeskog out for the last game of his two-game suspension for boarding Kirby Dach.
“We’ll take every guy we can get, especially of the caliber of a guy like Nate,” Bednar said.
MacKinnon added it was frustrating to miss the start of the season, but that he’s feeling at 100 percent and is looking forward to his return.
“It sucked. I mean, just watching from home, tested positive for COVID, I didn’t believe them at first,” MacKinnon said. “I didn’t feel anything. I was good. I was working out the whole time at home doing all I can to stay in shape and yeah, just unfortunate.”
(Watch video of MacKinnon talking after the skate here)
The 26-year-old believes the vaccine works and was happy to know that he didn’t infect his family or teammates.
Jack Johnson is also in after his negative COVID-19 test.
The Avs will run with 11 forwards and seven defensemen. Here is the projected lineup for their tilt against the Capitals:
Gabe Landeskog was also on the ice, but won’t play tonight. He will serve the second of his two-game suspension.
Darcy Kuemper will get the nod against Washington, with Ilya Samsonov set to make his first start of the season for the Capitals.
Meanwhile, this will be former Capital Andre Burakovsky’s first time back at Capital One Arena since Oct. 14, 2019. Washington traded him in the 2019 offseason to Colorado, where he’s felt that he’s been able to really find his game.
“It’s a new challenge, new expectations, new systems, you got to adjust and do your part to become one of the guys,” Burakovsky said. “For me it was really good to try something new and get a new opportunity somewhere else. I had a blast here in Washington, but I think hockey-wise I’ve been playing way better with the Avs. I continue the opportunity and confidence that I’m building up here with the Avs.”
Puck drop is at 7 p.m. ET. The game will be streamed on ESPN+ and Hulu only.