SAN JOSE, Calif.--The Colorado Avalanche will use the same lineup in tonight's Game 7 against the San Jose Sharks at SAP Center as it used in Game 6 on Monday in Denver.
That means the Avs will use a non-traditional setup of 11 forwards and seven defensemen. Head coach Jared Bednar utilized this lineup in Colorado's 4-3 overtime victory in the sixth outing of the set that forced the Round 2 series to a decisive seventh contest.
Patrik Nemeth served as the seventh rear guard in the win. It was his first contest of the second round and sixth of the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs. He is averaging 15:13 of ice time per game and has a plus-5 rating.
"There are aspects of it that I really like for us up front. It gets all of our forwards into the game, and that is what we want," Bednar said of the 11-and-seven configuration. "So they know they're going out, there is no room to hide, you can't have an off night. Usually we're more engaged when we play 11 forwards up front as a whole.
"It's a little bit tougher on the back end for those guys, but I think they understand the situation. It worked, we got a real good player in Nemeth coming in, so we're going to go with the same lineup."
Goaltender Philipp Grubauer will once again start in net for Colorado. He has been between the pipes in every game of the postseason so far, recording a 2.23 goals-against average and .928 save percentage.
Below is the Avalanche's projected lineup for Game 7. All forward combinations and defensive pairings are subject to change.
92 Gabriel Landeskog - 29 Nathan MacKinnon - 96 Mikko Rantanen
22 Colin Wilson - 17 Tyson Jost - 13 Alexander Kerfoot
83 Matt Nieto - 34 Carl Soderberg - 37 J.T. Compher
57 Gabriel Bourque - 18 Derick Brassard
28 Ian Cole - 6 Erik Johnson
16 Nikita Zadorov - 4 Tyson Barrie
49 Samuel Girard - 8 Cale Makar
12 Patrik Nemeth
31 Philipp Grubauer
1 Semyon Varlamov
Scratches: 10 Sven Andrighetto, 24 A.J. Greer, 25 Logan O'Connor, 27 Ryan Graves, 39 Pavel Francouz, 44 Mark Barberio, 47 Dominic Toninato, 54 Anton Lindholm, 91 Vladislav Kamenev
Injury Report: 11 Matt Calvert (upper body)
The San Jose Sharks' captain Joe Pavelski could be back in the lineup tonight, as he is a game-time decision.
Pavelski has not played this series. He suffered an injury at the end of San Jose's Game 7 victory against the Vegas Golden Knights in the first round.
San Jose has yet to announce its lineup, as the Sharks did not hold a morning skate today. Head coach Peter DeBoer will meet with the media prior to puck drop.
Below is the Sharks' projected lineup based on their alignments in Game 6.
28 Timo Meier - 39 Logan Couture - 14 Gustav Nyquist
9 Evander Kane - 48 Tomas Hertl - 27 Joonas Donskoi
20 Marcus Sorensen - 19 Joe Thornton - 62 Kevin Labanc
18 Michael Haley - 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
30 Aaron Dell