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Projected Lineup: Avalanche vs. Panthers

Philipp Grubauer expected to start in net

by Callie Parmele @CallieParmele /

Jayson Megna is expected to play his first game as a member of the Colorado Avalanche when the team hosts the Florida Panthers tonight at Pepsi Center.

The forward was one of the last players the Avs reassigned to the Colorado Eagles of the American Hockey League at the end of the preseason after signing with the team as a free agent this past summer. 

With Gabriel Landeskog being out indefinitely with a lower-body injury, Mikko Rantanen out week-to-week with his own lower-body injury and Colin Wilson having left Tuesday's practice with a lower-body injury, the Avs recalled Megna on Tuesday afternoon.

"He was awesome in training camp," head coach Jared Bednar said of Megna. "I mean start to finish from day one. Every game made an impact whether it was on the penalty kill, the power play, he was putting goals in the back of the net. How close was he? He was the last guy to go basically from the forward group."

Megna has played 113 NHL contests with the Pittsburgh Penguins, New York Rangers and Vancouver Canucks. In those outings, he has scored 10 goals and added 10 assists. So far this campaign, he has recorded four points (three goals, one assist) in seven outings with the Eagles.

"He was hungry in training camp to prove that he deserved a full-time spot here, and we didn't have a spot for him as things kind of broke down with our numbers and number of contracts and whatnot but he is right up the road," said Bednar. "I think he is in a perfect situation, we get in a spot like this, he can come up and prove it again. You know when you get in regular season, you play well you will get the opportunity to continue to play.

"As of now with the three injuries we have, we got lots of opportunity for guys. Guys like him, [Vladislav] Kamenev, even [Valeri] Nichushkin who has been out of the lineup a little bit. This is a great stretch here for them to earn more ice and to prove they should be staying in our lineup."

Kamenev, who has been a healthy scratch so far this year, began Tuesday's practice centering a line with Nichushkin and Wilson. Bednar did not note what his forward lines will look like for tonight's game, but it is a possibility that Megna will play alongside the two Russians given Wilson's injury.

Philipp Grubauer is expected to get the start in net, as he was the first goaltender off the ice from the morning skate. He was between the pipes when Colorado defeated the Panthers 5-4 in overtime on Oct. 18 and made 40 saves in the win.

Below is the Avalanche's projected lineup based on the forward combinations and defensive pairings at Tuesday's practice, with Megna in the spot that Colin Wilson started the session in. They are subject to change.

91 Nazem Kadri - 29 Nathan MacKinnon - 72 Joonas Donskoi
95 Andre Burakovsky - 17 Tyson Jost - 37 J.T. Compher
13 Valeri Nichushkin - 81 Vladislav Kamenev - 12 Jayson Megna
83 Matt Nieto - 41 Pierre-Edouard Bellemare - 11 Matt Calvert

49 Samuel Girard - 6 Erik Johnson
28 Ian Cole - 8 Cale Makar
16 Nikita Zadorov - 27 Ryan Graves or 44 Mark Barberio

31 Philipp Grubauer
39 Pavel Francouz

Injured: 22 Colin Wilson (lower body), 92 Gabriel Landeskog (lower body), 96 Mikko Rantanen (lower body)

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