There could be some lineup changes tonight for the Colorado Avalanche when it takes on the Vegas Golden Knights in Game 5 of their second-round matchup at Ball Arena. The best-of-seven series is tied at 2-2.
Head coach Jared Bednar said Logan O'Connor is "game ready" and is an option to return to the lineup. The winger last played on March 31 and has been recovering from surgery due to a lower-body injury.
O'Connor played in 22 contests this year, recorded three goals and two assists with a plus-6 rating. He has five NHL playoff outings under his belt, all of which came in Round 2 of the 2020 postseason against the Dallas Stars, and has one assist in those games.
Forwards J.T. Compher and Kiefer Sherwood did not participate in morning skate, though head coach Jared Bednar said both are healthy and available. Defenseman Erik Johnson was on the ice for the session, but he is not an option for the contest, per Bednar.
Bednar also noted that there could be some line shuffling amongst the forwards.
"We'll try and take advantage of some positive numbers on our side and we mixed up our lines a little bit to do that," said the bench boss. "We've got some guys playing real well, we got some other guys that are still trying to find their game in the series and we're going to be moving some things around to try and be neutral in some cases and positive in some other ones for sure."
Philipp Grubauer is expected to be in net. He has a .929 save percentage and 2.25 goals-against average through eight games of the postseason.
Below is the Avalanche's projected lineup based on the start of Game 4 on Sunday. The forward combinations and defensive pairings are expected to change.
92 Gabriel Landeskog - 29 Nathan MacKinnon - 96 Mikko Rantanen
13 Valeri Nichushkin - 17 Tyson Jost - 72 Joonas Donskoi
20 Brandon Saad - 37 J.T. Compher - 95 Andre Burakovsky
34 Carl Soderberg - 41 Pierre-Edouard Bellemare - 44 Kiefer Sherwood
7 Devon Toews - 8 Cale Makar
27 Ryan Graves - 49 Samuel Girard
24 Patrik Nemeth - 22 Conor Timmins
31 Philipp Grubauer
40 Devan Dubnyk
Scratches: Bowen Byram, Jonas Johansson, Nazem Kadri (suspended), Jacob MacDonald, Alex Newhook, Logan O'Connor, Sampo Ranta
Injury Report: Matt Calvert (upper body), Pavel Francouz (lower body), Erik Johnson (upper body)
Vegas head coach Peter DeBoer did not talk about his lineup for tonight's outing in his pregame availability, so the Golden Knights forward combinations and defensive pairings for Game 5 will not be known until closer to puck drop.
Mattias Janmark was on the ice for Vegas' morning skate after he suffered an injury in Game 1 of this series and could return. He has three goals and three assists in eight outings this postseason.
Netminder Marc-Andre Fleury was the first goalie off the ice and is expected to be between the pipes. He was backed up by Robin Lehner in Game 4 after Logan Thompson filled that role in Games 2 and 3.
Below is the Golden Knights' projected lineup based on the forward combinations and defensive pairings from Game 4. It is subject to change.
67 Max Pacioretty - 20 Chandler Stephenson - 61 Mark Stone
81 Jonathan Marchessault - 71 William Karlsson - 19 Reilly Smith
55 Keegan Kolesar - 10 Nicolas Roy - 89 Alex Tuch
28 William Carrier - 38 Patrick Brown - 75 Ryan Reaves
23 Alec Martinez - 7 Alex Pietrangelo
3 Brayden McNabb - 27 Shea Theodore
14 Nicolas Hague - 2 Zach Whitecloud
29 Marc-Andre Fleury
90 Robin Lehner