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Projected Lineup: Avalanche at Golden Knights

Pavel Francouz starts, Cale Makar is getting closer to a return

by Ron Knabenbauer @RonKnab /

LAS VEGAS--The Colorado Avalanche takes on the Vegas Golden Knights tonight in the teams' final game before the NHL Holiday Break.

Goaltender Pavel Francouz will start in net for the Avalanche and is unbeaten in his last 11 games. He has an 8-0-1 record with a 1.92 goals-against average and .941 save percentage in those contests and has won each of his last three starts.

Colorado isn't expected to make any other changes to its lineup, meaning defenseman Mark Barberio and forward Vladislav Kamenev will be the team's healthy scratches.

Defenseman Cale Makar was a full participant in morning skate and wore a regular practice jersey, but he won't be in the lineup. Head coach Jared Bednar says he wants to make sure the rookie is fully healthy and comfortable before returning to game action.

Makar, who will miss his eighth straight game with an upper-body injury, is slated to make his return on Friday against the Minnesota Wild in Colorado's first game following the three-day break.

This evening is the second of three outings this season between the Avs and Knights, and the final one that will be played at T-Mobile Arena. Colorado won the first matchup by a 6-1 score on Oct. 25.

Below is the Avalanche's projected lineup, based on the alignment at the start of the team's previous contest on Saturday. All forward combinations and defensive pairings are subject to change.

92 Gabriel Landeskog - 29 Nathan MacKinnon - 96 Mikko Rantanen
95 Andre Burakovsky - 91 Nazem Kadri - 72 Joonas Donskoi
83 Matt Nieto - 41 Pierre-Edouard Bellemare - 11 Matt Calvert
17 Tyson Jost - 37 J.T. Compher - 13 Valeri Nichushkin

16 Nikita Zadorov - 49 Samuel Girard
27 Ryan Graves - 6 Erik Johnson
54 Anton Lindholm - 28 Ian Cole

39 Pavel Francouz
31 Philipp Grubauer

Scratches: Mark Barberio, Vladislav Kamenev
Injury Report: Cale Makar (upper body), Colin Wilson (lower body, out indefinitely)

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