Rookie defenseman Cale Makar will be back in the Colorado Avalanche's lineup tonight when the team hosts the New York Rangers at Pepsi Center.
Makar last played on Feb. 29 at the Nashville Predators and has missed the past five games with an upper-body injury. The Calgary, Alberta, native ranks second in rookie scoring with 47 points (12 goals, 35 assists) in 56 contests this year.
Head coach Jared Bednar noted after this morning's skate that Makar will be paired with Ryan Graves, the same partner he has had for most of the season. Defenseman Kevin Connauton will be the healthy scratch with Makar's return.
Nathan MacKinnon left Monday's game in the second period with a lower-body injury and will miss the next one-to-two weeks. With MacKinnon out of the lineup, Bednar noted that he will use J.T. Compher, Tyson Jost, Pierre-Edouard Bellemare and Vladislav Kamenev in the center positions against the Rangers.
Martin Kaut was also recalled from the American Hockey League's Colorado Eagles prior to today's pregame practice and will play against the Rangers. He has scored two goals and added one assist in eight NHL contests this year.
Forward Vladislav Namestnikov did not participate in the morning skate but is expected to play against the Rangers, his former team. Bednar also said goaltender Pavel Francouz will also get the start in net.
Tonight's game is the first of a four-game homestand for the Avs as the team will also host the Vancouver Canucks, Vegas Golden Knights and San Jose Sharks on Friday, Sunday and Tuesday, respectively.
Below is the Avalanche's projected lineup based on the forward combinations and defensive pairings from Colorado's last game on Monday at the Los Angeles Kings, with Compher moving up to the top trip and Kaut slotted into the open spot on the second line. They are likely to change.
92 Gabriel Landeskog - 37 J.T. Compher - 90 Vladislav Namestnikov
61 Martin Kaut - 17 Tyson Jost - 72 Joonas Donskoi
83 Matt Nieto - 41 Pierre-Edouard Bellemare - 13 Valeri Nichushkin
44 Mark Barberio (D) - 81 Vladislav Kamenev - 25 Logan O'Connor
27 Ryan Graves - 8 Cale Makar
49 Samuel Girard - 6 Erik Johnson
28 Ian Cole - 16 Nikita Zadorov
39 Pavel Francouz
35 Michael Hutchinson
Healthy Scratch: Kevin Connauton
Injury Report: Andre Burakovsky (upper body/lower body), Matt Calvert (lower body), Philipp Grubauer (lower body), Nazem Kadri (lower body), Nathan MacKinnon (lower body), Mikko Rantanen (upper body), Colin Wilson (lower body)