In an uncommon occurrence for the 2020-21 season, the Colorado Avalanche takes on the Minnesota Wild this evening for one game only. The contest is a make-up from the Feb. 4 outing that was postponed due to NHL COVID-19 protocols.
Colorado has previously played every opponent this year in two, three or four-game series. The Avs will be wrapping up a two-game set at Ball Arena after falling 3-0 on Monday to the Vegas Golden Knights, which was the final contest of four straight versus the club from the desert.
The Avs, who are 5-0-0 after a loss this season, will be without Brandon Saad tonight. The forward will miss his first game of the campaign with him and his wife expecting the birth of their second child.
Logan O'Connor will return to the lineup with Saad's absence and be paired on a line with Pierre-Edouard Bellemare and Tyson Jost. The Avs will also reunite their top line of Nathan MacKinnon, Gabriel Landeskog and Mikko Rantanen. The other two combos are Matt Calvert and Joonas Donskoi with center Nazem Kadri and J.T. Compher leading a trio that includes Andre Burakovsky and Valeri Nichushkin.
Philipp Grubauer was the first goalie off the ice at morning skate and will make his sixth consecutive start in net for Colorado, his longest such streak of the season. The goaltender ranks third in the NHL with nine wins and is second in goal-against average (1.78) and save percentage (.932) among keepers with more than seven games played.
Below is the Avalanche's projected lineup for tonight's game versus the Wild. All forward combinations and defensive pairings are subject to change.
92 Gabriel Landeskog - 29 Nathan MacKinnon - 96 Mikko Rantanen
11 Matt Calvert - 91 Nazem Kadri - 72 Joonas Donskoi
95 Andre Burakovsky- 37 J.T. Compher - 13 Valeri Nichushkin
17 Tyson Jost - 41 Pierre-Edouard Bellemare - 25 Logan O'Connor
7 Devon Toews - 8 Cale Makar
49 Samuel Girard - 27 Ryan Graves
4 Bowen Byram - 22 Conor Timmins
31 Philipp Grubauer
30 Adam Werner
Scratch: Brandon Saad (personal reasons)
Taxi Squad: Sheldon Dries, Peyton Jones (G), Jacob MacDonald, Dan Renouf
Injury Report: Dennis Gilbert (upper body), Erik Johnson (upper body), Pavel Francouz (lower body)