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Avalanche Gameday: Mittelstadt Impresses Coach With All-Around Play

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I don’t know if “sleepy” is the right word to use for skate, but it did seem to be a relatively quiet morning for the Colorado Avalanche.

Maybe a lot of that has to do with their opponent.

Tonight, the Columbus Blue Jackets, the worst team in the Eastern Conference, are in town to face-off against the Avalanche. On paper, this would seem like a decent chance to start Justus Annunen again, but Colorado will turn to Alexandar Georgiev, who didn’t start on Tuesday. Both goaltenders are playing well right now, so don’t be surprised if they alternate a bit on this five game homestand to keep them both in a rhythm.

Beyond that, there really isn’t a ton to talk about heading into the game. Based off practice yesterday and today’s skate, the Avalanche will run with the same lines (and lineup) they played with on Tuesday. A lot of Blue Jackets players sat and watched morning skate for Colorado, more than you normally see from an opposing team. My guess is a lot of that is because of how Colorado runs things. Even their morning skates are up-tempo, and a team like Columbus might not be used to seeing that.

It goes without saying that Casey Mittelstadt has impressed fans since arriving. One very important person he has impressed since coming to Colorado is his coach, and not just on the offensive side of the puck.

“I think he’s doing a great job,” Jared Bednar said of his new 2C. “We all know the skill and ability that he has, but on the defensive side of things, he’s been rock solid. Expected goals for percentage in all the games he’s played, he’s just up-ticking and getting better and better.”

Mittelstadt says the adjustment coming from to a team out of the playoff hunt to a contender has been easy, simply because of who is in the locker room.

“Honestly, it’s not too tough,” Mittelstadt said. “The leaders do a good job and there’s obviously a ton of leaders in this room. I just follow them and try to work as hard as I can and do my best each day.”

Other News And Notes

  • Nikolai Kovalenko has head up to Loveland to (hopefully) get that recovery process started. He had been in Denver since arriving.
  • The Winnipeg Jets lost on Thursday night, and have finally, for the moment, caught up to the Avalanche in games played. All of Winnipeg, Colorado, and Dallas have 93 points right now, and Nashville keeps lurking at 86.
  • Zach Werenski is a game-time decision for the Blue Jackets. He’s one of the few recognizable names on that Columbus team.

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