The Colorado Avalanche will catch a big break on Tuesday night against the New Jersey Devils. We’ll see if they’re able to take advantage of it.
The Devils will be without their top two centers, including the leading scorer in the NHL, when they take on the Avalanche. Jack Hughes is currently week-to-week with an upper-body injury, and isn’t even with the team at the moment. The same goes for their Captain, Nico Hischier.
While the Devils missing those players is huge, it’s important for the Avalanche to focus on controlling what they can control, and that’s been a problem of late. Not only are they struggling to score, but they’re having trouble keeping pucks out of their own net. Usually one feeds the other, so that’s not a huge surprise. It’s not all on Alexandar Georgiev either, who will be back in net for Colorado.
“It’s a team game, right?” Assistant Coach Nolan Pratt said this morning. “I don’t think anyone would sit there and blame Georgie for any of our last three road games. We haven’t performed to our standard here as a team, as an organization, these last few games, and it’s something that we’re working to correct here.”
Nathan MacKinnon is under a point-per-game right now, and that’s certainly not something I expected at this point in the season. He was on fire at morning skate, labeling pucks into the top corner of the net, but whether or not that can translate to the game tonight remains to be seen.
The Avalanche aren’t exactly worried, though.
“I don’t think any of us are concerned with his production,” Pratt said. “We know that’ll come for him, and I think with skilled guys, there are times that it can come in flurries.”
If practice on Monday is any indication, Jonathan Drouin will get another opportunity to play on a line with MacKinnon. It’s up to him to show he deserves to stay there.
The Devils will go back to Vanecek in net against the Avalanche. Four different players scored for them in their victory over the Blackhawks on Sunday, and without Hughes and Hischier, they’ll need that to continue for a little longer. Dawson Mercer is good, young player who finally got his first point of the season over the weekend, and is someone they’ll need to step up in the absence of their two star centers.
The game is on TNT again (no Altitude this time to confuse everyone), so prepare for an 8:22 PM puck drop.
Expected Colorado Avalanche Lines
Jonathan Drouin – Nathan MacKinnon – Mikko Rantanen
Artturi Lehkonen – Ryan Johansen – Valeri Nichushkin
Miles Wood – Ross Colton – Logan O’Connor
Andrew Cogliano – Ondrej Pavel – Tomas Tatar
Devon Toews – Cale Makar
Bowen Byram – Sam Girard
Jack Johnson – Josh Manson
Expected New Jersey Devils Lineup
Ondrej Palat-Dawson Mercer-Timo Meier
Tyler Toffoli-Michael McLeod-Jesper Bratt
Max Willman-Erik Haula-Curtis Lazar
Alexander Holtz-Chris Tierney-Nathan Bastian
Jonas Siegenthaler-Dougie Hamilton
Kevin Bahl-John Marino
Brendan Smith-Luke Hughes
Colorado Avalanche Power Play: 18.4%, 17th in NHL
Colorado Avalanche Penalty Kill: 92.5%, 2nd in NHL
New Jersey Devils Power Play: 42.9%, 1st in NHL
New Jersey Devils Penalty Kill: 76.3%, 20th in NHL
How to Watch
TV: TNT, Max
Radio: 92.5 Altitude Radio
Game Time: 8:00 PM MST (8:22 puck drop, probably)