No morning skate for the Colorado Avalanche this morning, having played the night before on Long Island. Avs vs. Ryan Graves and New Jersey Devils tonight.
What kind of year has it been for Gravy? Not too bad. He’s got 22 points in 51 games, a minus-4. Not like his plus-40 days with the Avs, but he’s had a pretty decent year so far. I always liked him, for how he rose out of obscurity to become a regular NHL player, after a few years in the minors. That’s hard to do, but Graves just kept working.
Andre Burakovsky will be questionable to play tonight, or so it would seem. He took a puck off the body last night and left the game. Jared Bednar said x-rays were negative. We won’t know close to game time on lineup stuff, with no skate.
Darcy Kuemper will start in goal for the Avs – and on Thursday in Carolina.
So, defenseman Jacob MacDonald is playing again, which is great news. In fact, he scored a goal the other night for the Colorado Eagles in their 4-1 win over the San Diego Gulls. He has fully recovered from the effects of that scary hit he took at home against Florida, which led to him being wheeled off the ice on a stretcher.
It’s nice to have him around as defensive depth insurance for the playoffs. Remember, he can play some forward too.
You always root for guys like him – kind of in the Ryan Graves vein.
So, the Avs entered Monday 31st in the league in faceoff-winning percentage (46.4), just ahead of Buffalo’s 46 percent.
I remember Chris Drury telling me once that, to be a great faceoff man, you have to learn to “cheat” better. That’s exactly what Jared Bednar said the other day too, that the Avs have to cheat more. Nazem Kadri is good at cheating some, but he also gets kicked out of the dot a lot too. I think it all comes down to your reputation with the linesmen. If you’re known as a cagey old vet who they like, you get the benefit of the doubt more.
Avs are -215 favorites to beat the Devils tonight, at SuperBook Colorado.