The Colorado Avalanche is playing its second game of a five-game road trip on Tuesday against the Buffalo Sabres.
The Avs started this road trip with a 6-3 loss at the Philadelphia Flyers on Saturday in their first game back from an 11-day All-Star Break and bye week. Colorado trailed 2-0 in the first period and despite tallies from Nikita Zadorov, Mikko Rantanen and Andre Burakovsky could not overcome the Flyers' six-goal outing.
Buffalo is playing the fourth of a five-game homestand against the Avalanche after defeating the Columbus Blue Jackets 2-1 in overtime on Saturday. The Sabres snapped the Blue Jackets' six-game winning streak with goals from Evan Rodrigues and Jack Eichel to secure the victory, the latter coming as the OT-winner. Buffalo concludes its homestand on Thursday against the Detroit Red Wings.
This is the first meeting between Colorado and Buffalo of the season. The teams will meet again on Feb. 26 in Denver to conclude the season series.
Avalanche at BUFFALO SABRES
KeyBank Center | Buffalo, N.Y.
Avs blueliner Nikita Zadorov was selected in the first round (No. 16 overall) of the 2013 draft by Buffalo and played two seasons (2013-2015) with the club… Colorado left wing J.T. Compher was selected by Buffalo in the second round (No. 35 overall) of the 2013 draft… Avalanche assistant coach Nolan Pratt played his last NHL season with the Sabres in 2007-08… Head coach Jared Bednar played 19 regular-season games for Buffalo's AHL affiliate, the Rochester Americans, in 1997-98… Sabres defenseman Matt Hunwick played three seasons with the Avalanche from 2010-2013.
The Avs own a 63-60-22 all-time franchise record against the Sabres. Since moving to Denver in 1995, Colorado has gone 19-10-4 against Buffalo, including posting a 9-5-2 mark as the visiting team. Since the 2015-16 campaign, the Avs have gone 5-3-0 against Buffalo and they've won each of the past three meetings and four of the last five matchups between the teams.
Head coach Jared Bednar is expected to announce the starting goaltender following morning skate on Tuesday … The Avs practiced on Monday with the same lines they played with against the Flyers, but Bednar said afterward that he could mix up his forward combinations.
Colin Wilson is the only Avalanche player currently out with an injury. Wilson (lower body) is working on his rehabilitation after undergoing two surgeries earlier this season.
SCOUTING THE SABRES
Buffalo owns a 23-22-7 mark this season and 53 points to put the club in sixth place in the Atlantic Division. The Sabres score on 19.6 percent of their power plays to tie for 15th in the league and kill 74.5 percent of their penalties, 26th in the NHL.
Buffalo has gone 1-2-0 on its current homestand and is 6-5-0 so far in the 2020 calendar year.
(OPPOSING) PLAYER TO WATCH: Jack Eichel
Jack Eichel is the current scoring leader for Buffalo after registering 65 points (31 goals, 34 assists) so far this season. He averages 1.27 points per game and leads his team with 44 even-strength points (23 goals, 21 assists) and 20 power-play points (seven goals, 13 assists). He ranks fourth in the league in goals with 31 and is tied for the eighth-most points in the NHL. The center has scored seven game-winning goals, third-most in the league.
Eichel was selected in the first round at No. 2 overall in the 2015 draft by the Sabres and made his NHL debut the same year. In his 337 career outings, he has amassed a total 324 points (132 goals, 192 assists).
Ian Cole is two assists away from tying his career best of 21 helpers in 2016-17. Matt Calvert is two points away from tying his career high of 26 points in a season and is one point away from register the 200th of his NHL tenure.
Nathan MacKinnon has had multi-point efforts in each of his last four matchups against the Sabres. He's scored a total of nine points (five goals, four assists) in his last four games and has 13 career points (six goals, seven assists) in his 10 outings against Buffalo.
Colorado has outshot its opponents in eight of its 10 outings since Jan. 1. So far in the calendar year, the Avs have only been outshot by the New York Islanders (Jan. 6) and St. Louis Blues (Jan. 18).
This five-game road trip from Feb. 1-9 is tied for Colorado's second-longest away stretch of the season, and it marks the fifth of eight times this year that the Avs will play at least three consecutive road games… The Avs lead the NHL by scoring 3.64 goals per game… Colorado takes 33.1 shots per game to rank eighth in the NHL… Nikita Zadorov is on a career-high three-game point streak (one goal, four assists)… Andre Burakovsky has recorded multiple points in three-straight contests and is on a four-game point streak.