The last time the Colorado Avalanche took on the Chicago Blackhawks, they were floundering, having lost six of seven games.
My, how things have changed.
Since losing to the Blackhawks on Jan 12, the Avalanche have gone 20-5-3. No team in the league has a better record over that same timeframe. Now within striking distance of first place in the Central Division, Avalanche head coach Jared Bednar wants to see his team continue playing the type of hockey that gives them success.
What does that mean to him?
“A lot of determination,” Bednar said. “A lot of commitment to defend, and getting on our toes a little bit more offensively, and getting a little bit more dangerous throughout our lineup.”
The Avalanche will, unfortunately, be forced to play without a very important player. Cale Makar, the reigning Norris Trophy winner, will miss the game due to a lower-body injury. He felt fine after the game on Saturday, but started to feel soreness on Sunday after “tweaking” something in the game. With the team rolling, Bednar doesn’t want to take any chances on it lingering, and Makar will sit out for at least one game. Kurtis MacDermid will take his place in the lineup.
Alexandar Georgiev is expected to start in net.
The Blackhawks are just waiting for the season to end. They’re one of the teams looking get the best possible odds of drafting Connor Bedard over the summer. Having already traded Patrick Kane, and with Jonathan Toews out of the lineup, there isn’t a ton of firepower left. They currently have the third worst record in the NHL. Their top scorer is Taylor Raddysh (yes, you read that correctly) with 33 points.
This is the final meeting between the two teams this season.
Expected Colorado Avalanche Lines
Evan Rodrigues – Nathan MacKinnon – Mikko Rantanen
Valeri Nichushkin – J.T. Compher – Denis Malgin
Andrew Cogliano – Lars Eller – Logan O’Connor
Matt Nieto – Alex Newhook – Alex Galchenyuk
Devon Toews – Samuel Girard
Jack Johnson – Bowen Byram
Kurtis MacDermid – Brad Hunt
Expected Chicago Blackhawks Lines, per DailyFaceoff.com
Lukas Reichel – Philipp Kurashev – Andreas Athanasiou
Tyler Johnson – Jason Dickinson – Taylor Raddysh
Mike Hardman – MacKenzie Entwistle – Buddy Robinson
Boris Katchouk – Jujhar Khaira – Joey Anderson
Caleb Jones – Seth Jones
Jarred Tinordi – Connor Murphy
Nikita Zaitsev – Ian Mitchell
Colorado Avalanche Power Play: 24.4%, 5th in NHL
Colorado Avalanche Penalty Kill: 79.1%, 18th in NHL
Chicago Blackhawks Power Play: 16.7%, 28th in NHL
Chicago Blackhawks Penalty Kill: 77%, 20th in NHL
How to Watch
TV: ESPN+, Altitude TV
Radio: Altitude Sports Radio 92.5
Game Time: 7:00 PM MST