The Colorado Avalanche returns to Pepsi Center to host the Washington Capitals on Thursday night after a 10-day road trip that included four games away from home.
In the 2017-18 campaign, the Avalanche has a record of 8-7-1 and the Capitals have earned a 10-8-1 record. Colorado has met Washington 29 times since 1995-96 and has a 12-15-2 overall record against the Capitals, and is 7-7-1 when at home. The Avs have lost the last six meetings between the two clubs.
This season, Colorado has gone 5-1-0 in the Mile High City, winning four of the last five contests at Pepsi Center. The Capitals have a 5-5-1 record on the road this campaign.
Last Time Out
The Avalanche fell to the Ottawa Senators 4-3 on Saturday in Stockholm, Sweden for the second game in the 2017 NHL Global Series. The Avs got on the scoreboard first with a shorthanded goal by Blake Comeau, his fourth marker of the season. The match was tied up with a power-play goal by the Senators but was answered by a goal with a man-advantage from Alexander Kerfoot. Sven Andrighetto also found the back of the net to give the Avalanche a 3-2 lead going into the second intermission but Colorado conceded two goals in the final period for the loss.
On Tuesday, the Washington Capitals suffered a 6-3 loss to the Nashville Predators. The Predators scored twice in the opening frame but Capitals tied the game at two behind early second period tallies from T.J. Oshie and Alex Chiasson. Oshie scored a second goal later in the stanza but Nashville found the back of the net four times in the remainder of the period to give the Predators a lead that kept to the final horn.
Last Time They Met
Colorado fell to Washington 5-3 when they met at Pepsi Center on March 29. In the loss, the Avalanche allowed two power-play goals on three opportunities. John Carlson and Jay Beagle scored in the first period for Washington and Mikko Rantanen got the Avs on the board for a 2-1 score heading into the first intermission. The Capitals notched two goals to extend their lead before Matt Nieto tallied a second marker for Colorado. Nathan MacKinnon put Colorado within one in the final 20 minutes until Lars Eller scored Washingtons fifth tally with under two minutes remaining to seal the win.
Watch to Watch
The Price of Penalties
Colorado had seven penalties in its last contest and allowed two power-play goals. Four of the penalties came in the third period and ultimately cost the Avalanche the game. However, the penalty-kill unit got Colorado on the board first with a shorthanded goal by Blake Comeau.
"I thought our penalty kill did a fantastic job really, at the end of the day," Bednar said. "They scored on the last one where we break up the play and it kind of deflects back out to their shooter Hoffman coming down the flank. The problem was, we were getting outworked in a lot of areas and took a bunch of penalties--reaching penalties, stick penalties. You know, we didn't use our legs to check so we were reaching a lot and we got called for them."
Jared Bednar has shuffled his lineup the last couple games due to injury updates and newly acquired Avs. The Avalanche acquired Samuel Girard and Vladislav Kamenev, along with two other players and three draft picks, in a three-team trade on Nov. 5.
A.J. Greer and Rocco Grimaldi were reassigned to the San Antonio Rampage on Tuesday and newly acquired forward Kamenev has been recalled to Colorado. Kamenev practiced on a line with Andrighetto and Nail Yakupov during practice on Wednesday and Girard is expected to be paired with defenseman Erik Johnson.
Player to Watch
Colorado: Forward Mikko Rantanen
Mikko Rantanen skated in his 100th NHL game on Saturday in his second full season with the Avalanche. The forward is currently tied for third in team scoring with 13 points (five goals and eight assists) in 16 games. Rantanen also leads team with four power-play goals this season.
Washington: Forward T.J. Oshie
T.J. Oshie has played in all 19 games for Washington this campaign and is tied for fourth in team scoring with 14 points (nine goals, five assists). The right wing notched two markers in the match on Tuesday to put him in second in team goals. He also leads the Capitals with six power-play markers this season.
Line Up Notes
Carl Soderberg returned to his normal spot on Wednesday centering a line with Blake Comeau and Matt Nieto after missing Colorado's last two games awaiting the birth of his third child. Semyon Varlamov is expected to be in the crease for the Avalanche.
Puck drop is set for 7 p.m. MT at Pepsi Center. The game will be televised on Altitude TV and the radio broadcast can be heard on Altitude Sports Radio AM 950 or online at ColoradoAvalanche.com.