There will be a familiar face running the opposing bench tonight when the Colorado Avalanche take on the Anaheim Ducks.
Greg Cronin, who was head coach of the Colorado Eagles for the past five seasons, will be behind the bench for the Ducks when they take on the Avalanche. He’s got his young team off to a strong start, as they’re one of the surprise clubs around the league with a 9-6 record.
However, none of this comes as a surprise to Avalanche head coach Jared Bednar.
“They’re off to a great start,” Bednar said of the Ducks. “If you look at their underlying numbers, all the things that he implemented with the Eagles, and then some, are showing up with Anaheim. They’ve drafted well for years, they’ve got a good group of young, skilled, talented players that are now breaking into the NHL…they’re a dangerous team.”
The Ducks didn’t hold a morning skate, as they played Nashville last night, so the Avalanche will look to take advantage of that early. Quick starts are not something Colorado has excelled at this season.
Based off morning skate, Caleb Jones will almost certainly be in the lineup again. As for the other spot on defense, Sam Girard was a full participant at skate, but they may hold him out one more night. Andrew Cogliano also has a chance of playing up front.
Bednar said that Josh Manson, who will not play tonight, is currently day-to-day with an upper body injury.
The Avalanche got contributions from everyone during Monday’s win against the Kraken, and they’ll need that again tonight. One player who finally got on the board was Jonathan Drouin, adding his first goal in a Colorado uniform in the third period. That took a bit of the pressure off of him, at least for now.
“I’d say I lost 5-10 pounds there,” Drouin joked this morning. “You want to get that first one out of the way, and I was gripping that stick a little tighter as every game went on, but it’s over, and we got a big win too. I’ll just try to keep scoring now.”
I noticed last week that Drouin switched from white tape to black tape. A move to change up his luck, perhaps?
“You’ll see quite a bit of that,” he told me. “I’ll go white a game, black a game, or if I have two bad periods, I’ll go white in the third.”
At morning skate, Fredrik Olofsson was wearing neck protection, the first Avalanche skater to use it this season. He didn’t really seem to want to answer questions about it, but after the incident with Adam Johnson, more and more players are starting to wear them.
“It just shouldn’t be a big deal. It just shouldn’t be,” he said. “I think last year, if you wore it, it wouldn’t have been looked at at all.”
Olofsson is used to wearing neck protection. In Sweden, he said it was required, and there were penalties if you didn’t wear one.
“You would get fined if you wouldn’t wear one,” he said. “Even at practice, if you weren’t wearing one, or you weren’t wearing your stuff, the coaches and the GM’s are on you. Different standards.”
For the Ducks, expect Lukas Dostal in net against the Avalanche. John Gibson played last night, but both goaltenders have been good this season. The Avalanche will likely get their first looks at two fantastic young rookies.
Leo Carlsson, the 2nd overall pick in June’s NHL Entry Draft, did not play last night, so expect him to play tonight. Anaheim has been managing his workload early this season, as he adjusts to the longer schedule. On defense, the guy to keep an eye out for is Pavel Mintyukov. The 10th overall pick in the 2022 NHL Draft has been a big part of their success this season, and has already picked up 10 points in 15 games.
Expected Colorado Avalanche Lines
Valeri Nichushkin – Nathan MacKinnon – Mikko Rantanen
Tomas Tatar – Ryan Johansen – Jonathan Drouin
Miles Wood – Ross Colton – Logan O’Connor
Andrew Cogliano – Fredrik Olofsson – Joel Kiviranta
Devon Toews – Cale Makar
Bowen Byram – Jack Johnson
Caleb Jones – Sam Malinski
Expected Anaheim Ducks Lineup
Killorn – Carlsson – Terry
Vatrano – McTavish – Strome
Jones – Henrique – Silfverberg
Oliver Groulx – Carrick – Leason
Fowler – Lacombe
Mintyukov – Lyubushkin
Vaakanainen – Gudas
Colorado Avalanche Power Play: 18.2%, 21st in NHL
Colorado Avalanche Penalty Kill: 85.7%, 8th in NHL
Anaheim Ducks Power Play: 21.2%, 15th in NHL
Anaheim Ducks Penalty Kill: 80.9%, 13th in NHL
How to Watch
TV: Altitude TV, ESPN+
Radio: 92.5 Altitude Radio
Game Time: 7:00 PM MST