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Projected Lineup: Avalanche vs. Hurricanes

Philipp Grubauer expected to start, Erik Johnson could return to the lineup

by Ron Knabenbauer @RonKnab /

The Colorado Avalanche wraps up its sixth back-to-back set of the season this evening when it hosts the Carolina Hurricanes at Pepsi Center.

Colorado won 4-1 on Wednesday night at the Chicago Blackhawks in a game that featured four different goal scorers by the Avs and 31 saves from goaltender Pavel Francouz.

With Francouz getting the nod in the first half of the consecutive-night set, Philipp Grubauer is expected to guard the pipes tonight in the first matchup of the season against the Hurricanes.

Defenseman Erik Johnson is a "possibility" to return to the lineup for the Avalanche, head coach Jared Bednar said on Wednesday. Johnson has been out for the past 11 games with a lower-body injury that he suffered on Nov. 23 against the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Below is the Avs' projected lineup for the game against the Eastern Conference Hurricanes, based on the forward combinations and defensive pairings from Wednesday's outing in Chicago. It isn't known at this time where Johnson would be placed in the lineup if he returns to game action.

92 Gabriel Landeskog - 29 Nathan MacKinnon - 96 Mikko Rantanen
13 Valeri Nichushkin - 37 J.T. Compher - 72 Joonas Donskoi
17 Tyson Jost - 91 Nazem Kadri - 95 Andre Burakovsky
11 Matt Calvert - 41 Pierre-Edouard Bellemare - 83 Matt Nieto

27 Ryan Graves - 49 Samuel Girard
28 Ian Cole - 16 Nikita Zadorov
44 Mark Barberio - 54 Anton Lindholm

31 Philipp Grubauer
39 Pavel Francouz

Healthy Scratches: Vladislav Kamenev, Calle Rosen
Injury Report: Erik Johnson (lower body), Cale Makar (upper body), Colin Wilson (lower body)

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