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Avalanche Gameday: Nichushkin Is Back, New Guys Will Play




The moment has finally come for Colorado Avalanche fans – Valeri Nichushkin is back.

Yes, there is a game tonight. I think the NHL should take trade deadline off as far as games go, but that’s just me. It’s a job like any other, and the Avalanche will try to take care of business tonight with a lot of new faces in the lineup.

The big Russian winger will play on a line with Jonathan Drouin and newly acquired Casey Mittelstadt, a new look for Colorado and one that completely changes the complexion of their lineup.

“It can help us a lot,” Bednar said of the new additions moving others down in the lineup. “When you start moving guys and slotting them against competition that you feel like they can have success against, it’s highly important to winning in the playoffs. We’ve got a lot of options. You have to be a deep team if you’re going to win.”

One player the Avalanche will be without is Zach Parise, who is out with a lower-body injury. He left last game briefly after colliding with Ross Colton, but did return to finish the game.

It could be a chaotic game for Colorado. All four new additions will play, as well as Nichushkin, so don’t be surprised if you see some mistakes here and there.

For Brandon Duhaime, it’ll be an interesting night. He’ll be playing against the team he was on just yesterday.

“Definitely different,” Duhaime told the media today. “Might as well get it out of the way early, so it’s good.”

Colorado has been searching for a fourth line center – will it be Yakov Trenin? The way the lineup is currently constructed, he seems the most likely to play there. His agent said he was excited to come to Colorado, and he reiterated that today.

“I like the spot, I like the team, and I want to help the team,” Trenin said Friday.

As for the bottom two lines, your guess is as good as mine. We’ll find out during warmups.

Other News And Notes

  • Is there some funny business going on in net? I’ve heard some rumblings about a goalie, and I tweeted an emoji this morning to kind of hint at it. Justus Annunen was nowhere to be seen at morning skate, and an emergency goaltender took the ice with Alexandar Georgiev, who will start. We’ll find out if anything gets done. The trade deadline will pass at 1 PM MST.
  • It looks like Sean Walker will skate with Jack Johnson, but I’m sure the pairings will move around, as they usually do.
  • PP2 looked incredibly different, as Nichushkin will start there and Mittelstadt took over the bumper spot. Significantly more talent in that group now.

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