The Colorado Avalanche hosts the Columbus Blue Jackets this evening at Pepsi Center to wrap up a two-game homestand.
Nathan MacKinnon and Nikita Zadorov both didn't take the ice today for morning skate, but MacKinnon should be available for the Avs tonight. Head coach Jared Bednar said MacKinnon's absence was to give him some extra rest after the forward didn't play in the third period of Thursday night's tilt due to an upper-body injury; he was held out for precautionary reasons in what became a 9-4 win over the Nashville Predators.
Zadorov's injury is a bit more severe as Bednar revealed after the pregame practice that the defenseman is out with a broken jaw and is listed as week-to-week.
With only six healthy defensemen on the active roster, Ian Cole will return to game action after being scratched in the previous contest against Nashville. He is expected to be paired on the backend with Mark Barberio.
Bednar said the Avalanche's forward line combinations will remain the same as they were for the game against Predators, which featured the most goals scored by the squad since Dec. 9, 2007 against the St. Louis Blues (a 9-5 win at Pepsi Center).
Pavel Francouz will make his second consecutive start in net for Colorado while Philipp Grubauer remains out with a minor lower-body injury. It will be the first time that Francouz has started in back-to-back contests in his NHL career.
Below is the Avalanche's projected lineup against the Blue Jackets. All forward combinations and defensive pairings are subject to change.
72 Joonas Donskoi - 29 Nathan MacKinnon - 11 Matt Calvert
17 Tyson Jost - 91 Nazem Kadri - 37 J.T. Compher
83 Matt Nieto - 41 Pierre-Edouard Bellemare - 13 Valeri Nichushkin
95 Andre Burakovksy - 81 Vladislav Kamenev - 36 T.J. Tynan
49 Samuel Girard - 6 Erik Johnson
27 Ryan Graves - 8 Cale Makar
28 Ian Cole - 44 Mark Barberio
39 Pavel Francouz
30 Adam Werner
Healthy Scratch: 12 Jayson Megna
Injury Report: Philipp Grubauer (lower body), Gabriel Landeskog (lower body), Mikko Rantanen (lower body), Colin Wilson (lower body), Nikita Zadorov (broken jaw)