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Projected Lineup: Avalanche vs. Stars

Colorado begins back-to-back set

by Ron Knabenbauer @RonKnab /

Nikita Zadorov entered the day questionable to play in tonight's Colorado Avalanche game, but the defenseman will be in the lineup against the Dallas Stars.

After being held out of practice on Thursday, Zadorov participated in today's optional morning skate at Pepsi Center. Head coach Jared Bednar confirmed afterward that the towering Russian will be in the lineup, and Zadorov said he missed the previous day's skate after blocking a shot in Wednesday's contest against the Florida Panthers.

"My foot was a little sore, but it's good today," he said.

Zadorov will be paired on defense with Ryan Graves, who returns to game action after being a healthy scratch in the last contest. Blueliner Mark Barberio will sit this evening.

On the forward side of things, Bednar said he'll start the game with the same line combinations that he used against the Panthers.

Goaltender Philipp Grubauer will start in net against Dallas, while backup Pavel Francouz is likely to play on Saturday at the Arizona Coyotes as Colorado completes the back-to-back set.

Below is the Avalanche's projected lineup for tonight's game against the Stars. All forward combinations and defensive pairings are subject to change.

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

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

31 Philipp Grubauer
39 Pavel Francouz

Scratched: Mark Barberio
Injuries: Gabriel Landeskog (lower body), Mikko Rantanen (lower body) and Colin Wilson (lower body, day-to-day)

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