CALGARY, Alberta--The Colorado Avalanche's top two goaltenders will be available for the club this evening when it takes on the Calgary Flames at Scotiabank Saddledome.
Goaltender Philipp Grubauer has missed the past five games while nursing a lower-body injury and is expected to get the start in net, while Pavel Francouz will be the backup. Francouz has been out for the past two games while in concussion protocol; he got hurt 31 seconds into last Tuesday's contest at the Winnipeg Jets.
While the Avs got two of their seven injured players back, head coach Jared Bednar said that center Pierre-Edouard Bellemare is a bit under the weather and is a game-time decision. Forward Tyson Jost, who missed his first outing of the year on Saturday in Vancouver with an upper-body injury, took to the ice after morning skate in a red, non-contact jersey and won't play this evening.
"I would rather have one goalie and one skater back, but it's good to start to get some of those guys back," Bednar said. "[Nikita] Zadorov gets back in our lineup, you add both of your goalies, some games you have to rely on your goaltender, especially when you're going through injuries like this. I think it is a positive step in the right direction for our team."
The Avalanche made some recent transactions over the last 24 hours with its American Hockey League affiliate, the Colorado Eagles, recalling forwards A.J. Greer and Logan O'Connor and reassigning goaltenders Antoine Bibeau and Adam Werner. Bednar said O'Connor, who grew up in Calgary, will suit up tonight in his first NHL game of the season and sixth of his career. Greer is likely to get in the lineup if Bellemare can't play.
Bednar did not give exact line combinations or defensive pairing for tonight's contest, so it's unknown at this time where O'Connor or Greer could play.
Below is Colorado's projected lineup based on the combos that were used at Monday's practice, but they are likely to change come game time. O'Connor is listed on a line with Nazem Kadri and J.T. Compher as that is where Jost began Monday's practice, but O'Connor is unlikely to start the game in that spot.
95 Andre Burakovsky - 29 Nathan MacKinnon - 72 Joonas Donskoi
25 Logan O'Connor - 91 Nazem Kadri - 37 J.T. Compher
83 Matt Nieto - 41 Pierre-Edouard Bellemare * - 13 Valeri Nichushkin
12 Jayson Megna - 81 Vladislav Kamenev - 36 T.J. Tynan
49 Samuel Girard - 6 Erik Johnson
27 Ryan Graves - 8 Cale Makar
16 Nikita Zadorov - 28 Ian Cole
31 Philipp Grubauer
39 Pavel Francouz
* - Game-time decision
Healthy Scratches: Mark Barberio, A.J. Greer
Injuries Report: Matt Calvert (head), Tyson Jost (upper body), Gabriel Landeskog (lower body), Mikko Rantanen (lower body), Colin Wilson (lower body)