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Avalanche Blog: Georgiev Absent, Potential Lineup Change For Game One

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The Colorado Avalanche finally know who their opponent will be in round two, although they’ve been ready if it was going to be the Stars for a few days now.

“We were done (pre-scouting) with Dallas probably four days ago,” Avalanche head coach Jared Bednar said after practice on Monday.

When Vegas made a comeback, the staff started digging into the Golden Knights. No need for that anymore, as it will be Colorado and Dallas facing off in round two, starting Tuesday night. The Avalanche practiced on Monday before heading to the airport to catch their flight to Texas. If their flight is like anyone else’s in town, this absurd wind will likely delay them just a little bit.

It’s not like Colorado doesn’t know Dallas. They see them a lot during the regular season, and have a good idea of what they’re in for. This Stars squad is really good, and Colorado will have to be prepared for anything.

“They’re tops in the league, especially since the trade deadline, in expected goals for and expected goals against. They’re top five,” Bednar said. “I expect them to push to score and push to keep it out of their net.”

I’ll have a preview up tomorrow on this series, but I think it’s going to be a doozy. The regular season games were highly entertaining, and both teams are very deep up front. Dallas was limited offensively by Vegas, but they’re a really good team and I expect it be a highly competitive series.

What I also expect is a lineup change for the Avalanche from the last time they played. Chris Wagner took most of the reps at right wing on the third line with Ross Colton and Miles Wood, and had a long chat with Bednar prior to practice. Nikolai Kovalenko was moved to the extra on the fourth line, so I expect him to sit. There’s a chance it could be Jean-Luc Foudy, but with Wagner taking most of the reps during line rushes, I think it will be him.

This is the safe move with a fresh start of a series. Colorado could afford to take a chance (which I loved) and put Kovalenko in during a series they were clearly in control of, but they don’t have control of this series right now. It makes sense that they would want to go with the veteran in a situation like this.

There’s also the outside chance that Joel Kiviranta will be able to play in Game One. He skated in a non-contact jersey this afternoon, but didn’t really join in for any of the line rushes, so it would seem unlikely to me.

Kiviranta is going to travel with the team, along with Jonathan Drouin, who did not skate. Everyone travels in the playoffs, though.

Alexandar Georgiev didn’t practice on Monday, which might be something to monitor. After practice, Bednar said it was maintenance, but he was asked straight up if it was maintenance or not, so he didn’t really have to say otherwise. Justus Annunen and Ivan Prosvetov were the two goalies at practice. I have no reason to believe it wasn’t a maintenance day, but you just never know at this time of the year, and a day off after a full day off isn’t always normal. There are a lot of people that believe rest days for starters aren’t the worst thing in the world, so it could be as simple as that. I had enough goaltending drama after Game One of the Winnipeg series, so I hope it’s just that.

My flight for Dallas leaves tomorrow morning, so I’ll be at morning skate, and we’ll see if Georgiev is there too.

Other News And Notes

Gabriel Landeskog did skate on his own, and is skating for longer periods of time these days. Does that mean he’s any closer to a return? I have no clue. He does look pretty good, all things considered.

Dallas has one of, if not the worst camera angle for TV in the NHL. Be prepared to miss a lot of action along the near boards if you’re watching the games.

Assuming tomorrow’s flights aren’t delayed by all this wind, the next time you hear from me might be from the state of Texas, where it’s apparently 90 degrees. I’m not really looking forward to that, and it’s an easy way to get sick going from a cold rink to the warmth of outside.

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