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Avalanche Skate: Byram Returns, Lehkonen Sheds Non-Contact Jersey



Byram Avalanche

With Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl in town, the Colorado Avalanche will get some much needed reinforcements on their blueline on Tuesday night.

Bowen Byram, who missed the final two games of the road trip due to illness, will return to the lineup for the Avalanche when they take on the Edmonton Oilers. With Byram coming back in, Kurtis MacDermid will exit the lineup.

Cale Makar joined the team for morning skate in a non-contact jersey, but will not play on Tuesday. Also joining the team for skate was Artturi Lehkonen, who has been out with a broken finger since March 13. He will not play, but things are encouraging on his end.

“He is,” Jared Bednar said, when asked if Lehkonen is getting closer to returning. “Big test today, so we’ll see how it (his finger) feels this afternoon.”

The Tuesday night matchup matters a lot to both teams, and on paper, looks like it should be a high-scoring affair. Between the teams, there are five players that have already surpassed the 100 point mark on the season. While the Avalanche are looking to stay atop the Central Division, the Oilers are trying to hunt down the Vegas Golden Knights for first-place in the Pacific.

Coming off a four-game road trip in which the Avalanche picked up all eight available points, Bednar described his teams energy level as “low,” but he’s not necessarily surprised by that.

“We just came off an eight-game road trip,” Bednar said. “I would say we’re not fully energized this morning. First game back after road trips, always a tough one, but I’m sure our guys will get readjusted and get ready to go for tonight.”

Mikko Rantanen, who had a crowd around him in his first skate back after hitting 50 goals and 100 points, expects it to be a good matchup.

“I think a 14-game point streak for their team, so they’re playing really well,” Rantanen said of the Oilers. “It’s not very often that three guys get to 100 points on the same team, and they’ve been doing it. Obviously, their powerplay is first in the league by a mile, so got to be careful with that.”

McDavid currently has a 27 points lead on his teammate Draisaitl for the scoring lead in the league. Even top players in the league like Rantanen are amazed by what he does.

“It’s pretty remarkable, and fun to watch him play,” Rantanen said of McDavid. “You see his highlights and what he’s able to do, never seen anything like it, I would say. Just to do it year after year, I feel like he’s getting better too. I don’t know if that’s possible, but I feel like he is.”

The Avalanche and Oilers will drop the puck on ESPN tonight at 7:30 PM MST.

Other News and Notes

  • At the end of his press conference, Bednar said he expects Josh Manson to be ready for the start of the playoffs. Manson skated before the team this morning with Makar.
  • Bednar said he would love to get all his injured guys back in a game or two before the playoffs, but isn’t sure if that’s going to happen.
  • Darren Helm and Gabriel Landeskog were not on the ice today.
  • Expect Alexandar Georgiev in net for Colorado.

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