With a win over the Penguins, the Avalanche will move to 7-0 on the season, which would give them the best start in franchise history since moving to Colorado.
Although many were looking for him to get a night off, it looks like the Avalanche will go back to Alexandar Georgiev in net. He’s started every game this season, but has looked a little shakier the last two starts. On the radio Wednesday, Jared Bednar said he would talk to Georgiev, as well as goaltending coach Jussi Parkkila, to get an idea of when they want to give him a night off. I’m guessing Georgiev, who is a big-time competitor, is not happy with how he’s performed the last two games and wants a chance to get back on track.
Don’t expect any other lineup changes for Colorado. Avalanche defenseman Cale Makar is coming off a three point performance against the Islanders, and the Penguins are well aware of what he can bring.
“He’s a special player,” conceded Penguins coach Mike Sullivan.
Expect to hear A LOT of Nathan MacKinnon/Sidney Crosby talk on the broadcast, which is typical when these two teams meet. Pittsburgh won both matchups last year, so MacKinnon might be motivated to get a win against his good friend.
The Penguins made big changes over the summer, bringing in a lot of veterans to play in the bottom six, and acquiring Erik Karlsson on defense. It hasn’t worked out early in the season, to say the least. Former Avalanche forwards Lars Eller and Matt Nieto are two of the veterans who joined the Penguins, and they’ve combined for just two assists (all by Eller) to start the year. Depth scoring was an issue for them last year, and has been to start the year.
As they usually do, their big guns are holding up their end of the bargain. Evgeni Malkin, who has historically performed very well against Colorado, leads the team with 8 points and 23 shots on goal through six games. Karlsson, who won the Norris Trophy last year, has four points, but hasn’t quite gelled on the powerplay with his new teammates.
Expected Colorado Avalanche Lines
Artturi Lehkonen – Nathan MacKinnon – Valeri Nichushkin
Tomas Tatar – Ryan Johansen – Mikko Rantanen
Miles Wood – Ross Colton – Jonathan Drouin
Andrew Cogliano – Fredrik Olofsson – Logan O’Connor
Devon Toews – Cale Makar
Bowen Byram – Sam Girard
Jack Johnson – Josh Manson
Expected Pittsburgh Penguins Lineup
Jake Guentzel-Sidney Crosby-Bryan Rust
Reilly Smith-Evgeni Malkin-Rickard Rakell
Drew O’Connor-Lars Eller-Radim Zohorna
Matt Nieto-Noel Acciari-Jeff Carter
Ryan Graves-Kris Letang
Marcus Pettersson-Erik Karlsson
Ryan Shea-Chad Ruhwedel
Colorado Avalanche Power Play: 28.6%, 7th in NHL
Colorado Avalanche Penalty Kill: 92.6%, 4th in NHL
Pittsburgh Penguins Power Play: 12.5%, 23rd in NHL
Pittsburgh Penguins Penalty Kill: 82.4%, 12th in NHL
How to Watch
TV: Altitude TV, ESPN+
Radio: Altitude Radio 92.5 FM
Game Time: 5:00 PM MST