Colorado Avalanche Gameday: The Blues return to the ball arena

It’s been 175 days since Darren Helm scored in the third half of game six with just five seconds remaining, effectively defeating the second-round boogie man for the Colorado Avalanche. Looking back, it feels like the win against the Blues sums up last season’s cup win.

The series itself was an absolute sucker for both parties. Early on it looked like Jordan Binnington could return to his Cup-winning form before injuring himself in a net front collision. A collision that momentarily set the hockey world on fire. A series that had already seen the heated exchanges and inevitable extracurricular activities turned even more emotional and tense.

Nazem Kadri and his family have been the target of unacceptable viciousness under the guise of anonymity and social media. Kadri treated it like an absolute legend, speaking out in the face of hate on the ice while promoting organizations aimed at curbing the very bigotry he had witnessed. It was inspirational not only for Avalanche fans, but more importantly for Kadri’s teammates.

Now the blues are back. Nazem Kadri plays for the Calgary Flames. David Perron, who was a frequent shooter after the whistle after the Binnington injury, is also dawning a new sweater in Detroit with the Red Wings. The perfect measure.

Colorado Avalanche

The Avalanche has grappled with the fallout from a spate of injuries last season. With key players like Valeri Nichushkin and Gabe Landeskog absent from the ice, it’s important for the remaining superstar talent to fill the gap. That’s exactly what happened to Colorado, which is currently enjoying a four-game winning streak. Nathan MacKinnon, Mikko Rantanen and Cale Makar were visibly better with every game. Extending your streak to five games requires you to beat a division rival in front of your home crowd at Ball Arena.

Planned lineup:

Artturi Lehkonen – Nathan MacKinnon – Mikko Rantanen
Alex Newhook – Evan Rodriguez – Martin Kaut
Andrew Cogliano – JT Compher – Logan O’Connor
Dryden Hunt – Jayson Megna – Sampo Ranta

Devon Toews—Cale Makar
Jacob MacDonald—Josh Manson
Andreas Englund—Erik Johnson

Note: Valeri Nichushkin, Bowen Byram, Samuel Girard and Kurtis MacDermid are all listed as ‘out’ for today’s competition, with both Gabriel Landeskog and Darren Helm still on injured reserve.

The Blues’ 2022-23 regular season got off to a rocky start. They came out of the gate and won three straight and then lost eight straight. They can win their third straight contest again by beating the Avalanche tonight. The Blues are a decent squad on paper, but unless their goalkeeping and defensive play improves, they could find themselves on the outside in the upcoming playoff period. It’s early days, I know, but eight-game losing streaks can really add up.

Planned lineup

Pavel Buchnevich-Robert Thomas-Vladimir Tarasenko
Brandon Saad – Ryan O’Reilly – Josh Leivo
Ivan Barbashev – Brayden Schenn – Jordan Kyrou
Nikita Alexandrov – Noel Acciari – Tyler Pitlick

Nick Leddy—Colton Parayko
Torey Krug—Justin Faulk
Calle Rosen — Niko Mikkola

Note: Scott Perunovich and Robert Bortuzzo are on the injured reserve list, while Marco Scandella is listed as ‘out’ for today’s competition.

goalkeeper

I’d be incredibly surprised if Jordan Binnington didn’t start for the Blues tonight. He’s obviously a man of immense pride (sometimes to a fault) so I’d guarantee he’s itching to face the avalanche back to full health. He struggled to start the year with 0.895 SV% and 3.19 GAA.

Alexandar Georgiev will be awarded Colorado tonight while Pavel Francouz takes on the Hurricanes in their final competition. Georgiev was a pleasant surprise, beginning his tenure with the Avalanche with a 7-1-1 record through tonight. He posts a GAA of 2.66 with an SV% of 0.924.

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