SAN JOSE, Calif.--The Colorado Avalanche begins its Round 2 series against the San Jose Sharks in the Stanley Cup Playoffs tonight at SAP Center.
Colorado's lineup will be similar to how it was in the first round versus the Calgary Flames but will see Derick Brassard and Samuel Girard reenter the lineup and Sven Andrighetto and Patrik Nemeth scratched.
"All the decisions are tough because if you look at the series we had against Calgary, all of our players played really well," said head coach Jared Bednar.
Brassard and Girard both missed the last three games of the series against the Flames; Brassard was ill and Girard was out with an upper-body injury.
"Brassard is going to go in, he has got a little more experience," Bednar said of the NHL veteran with 92 postseason outings on his resume. "He has been here before. He is a guy that I think we can rely on and hopefully has a big impact in this series."
Bednar will begin Game 1 with an offensive-minded defenseman on each blue-line pairing. Girard will return to his spot on a combo with Erik Johnson, and Tyson Barrie will skate with Nikita Zadorov. Rookie Cale Makar will be paired with Ian Cole.
"We have a big, heavy guy on each line that can defend and help us move the puck, and then we have those puck movers that we can put in all kinds of situations on the offensive side of things," Bednar said after morning skate. "It's a real good balance for us. We'll see how it goes and then we'll reevaluate and adjust if we need to for Game 2."
Philipp Grubauer will start in goal for the sixth straight contest.
Below is the Avalanche's projected lineup for Game 1. All forward combinations and defensive pairings are subject to change.
92 Gabriel Landeskog - 29 Nathan MacKinnon - 13 Alexander Kerfoot
22 Colin Wilson - 34 Carl Soderberg - 96 Mikko Rantanen
83 Matt Nieto - 37 J.T. Compher - 11 Matt Calvert
57 Gabriel Bourque - 17 Tyson Jost - 18 Derick Brassard
49 Samuel Girard - 6 Erik Johnson
16 Nikita Zadorov - 4 Tyson Barrie
28 Ian Cole - 8 Cale Makar
31 Philipp Grubauer (starter)
1 Semyon Varlamov (backup)
Healthy Scratches: 10 Sven Andrighetto, 12 Patrik Nemeth, 27 Ryan Graves, 44 Mark Barberio
Injury Report: 91 Vladislav Kamenev (shoulder)
Forwards Joe Pavelski (head) and Joonas Donskoi (undisclosed) won't play in Game 1. Pavelski, who is listed as day-to-day, suffered his injury in the third period of San Jose's Game 7 victory against the Vegas Golden Knights on Tuesday. The Sharks rallied from a 3-0 deficit after Pavelski got hurt with four unanswered goals and eventually won 5-4 in overtime.
Donskoi was injured in San Jose's double-overtime win in Game 6.
Former University of Denver forward Dylan Gambrell is expected to enter the lineup for the Sharks and skate as a fourth-line wing. Gambrell, who was recalled from the American Hockey League's San Jose Barracuda on Thursday, will be making his Stanley Cup Playoffs debut after skating in 11 regular-season games with the Sharks in each of the past two seasons.
Goaltender Martin Jones will make his eighth straight start. He has won his last three contests, including setting a new franchise record (regular season and playoffs) with 58 saves in Game 6 and then stopping 34 shots in Game 7.
Below is the Sharks' projected lineup, courtesy of SanJoseSharks.com.
28 Timo Meier - 39 Logan Couture - 14 Gustav Nyquist
20 Marcus Sorensen - 19 Joe Thornton - 62 Kevin Lablanc
98 Evander Kane - 48 Tomas Hertl - 52 Lukas Radil
7 Dylan Gambrell - 23 Barclay Goodrow - 68 Melker Karlsson
44 Marc-Edouard Vlasic - 88 Brent Burns
4 Brenden Dillon - 65 Erik Karlsson
47 Joakim Ryan - 61 Justin Braun
31 Martin Jones (starter)
30 Aaron Dell (backup)