CENTENNIAL, Colo.--The day following its third outing of a five-game homestand where the Colorado Avalanche defeated the San Jose Sharks 4-0, the team chose to have an optional practice and off-ice workout in preparation for its next test.
Around a dozen players took the ice to skate on Friday afternoon at Family Sports Center after the Avs held meetings to discuss the win versus San Jose and look ahead to the matchup against the St. Louis Blues on Saturday at 1 p.m. at Pepsi Center.
The Avalanche's contest against the division-foe Blues is the fourth of five meetings during the regular season between the clubs. Colorado won 7-3 in the last game against St. Louis on Jan. 2 after dropping the first two outings of the season series in Missouri.
There was hope that forward Joonas Donskoi would return to the Avs' lineup for the game after missing the previous three while in concussion protocol, but that seems unlikely as he skated for a fifth straight day in a red, non-contact jersey.
"I'm not sure," said head coach Jared Bednar after practice on Donskoi possibly returning for Saturday. "It's probably leaning toward not being in tomorrow."
Video: Avs prepare to play the St. Louis Blues
Donskoi has been out since sustaining a high hit to the head from the New York Rangers' Ryan Lindgren on Jan. 7.
Bednar said he has yet to finalize his goaltender for the division-rivalry matchup, but he is leaning toward giving Philipp Grubauer a third consecutive start in net. Grubauer made 27 saves in Colorado's shutout win over the Sharks.
Saturday's contest also marks the first of two day games in a row for the Avs, as they'll face the Detroit Red Wings on Monday in a special matinee for Martin Luther King Jr. Day. These are the final outings for Colorado before it has an 11-day break for the 2020 NHL All-Star Game and bye week.
Video: Jared Bednar meets with the media after practice