Cale Makar will return to the Colorado Avalanche's lineup tonight after missing eight games with a lower-body injury.
Avs head coach Jared Bednar said after morning skate that Makar will be paired on defense with Samuel Girard for the game against the Minnesota Wild at Pepsi Center. The two blueliners played together during the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs and throughout this year's training camp.
Makar has 28 points (eight goals, 20 assists) in 29 games during his rookie campaign. He last played on Dec. 7 at the Boston Bruins.
Following the team's game on Monday at the Vegas Golden Knights, the Avalanche reassigned defenseman Anton Lindholm to the American Hockey League's Colorado Eagles. With Lindholm back in Loveland, Mark Barberio and Vladislav Kamenev will be the Avs' healthy scratches this evening.
Goaltender Pavel Francouz will start in net as Colorado begins a back-to-back set that concludes on Saturday at the Dallas Stars. Francouz owns a 9-0-1 record in his last 12 outings played, which is the longest point streak by an Avalanche netminder since Semyon Varlamov had a 16-game run in 2013-14.
Below is the Avalanche's projected lineup for the game against the Wild and is subject to change. Other than the Girard-Makar pairing, the other defensive combinations won't be known until closer to game time. Bednar did not say what the other defensive duos will be.
92 Gabriel Landeskog - 29 Nathan MacKinnon - 96 Mikko Rantanen
95 Andre Burakovsky - 91 Nazem Kadri - 72 Joonas Donskoi
13 Valeri Nichushkin - 41 Pierre-Edouard Bellemare - 11 Matt Calvert
17 Tyson Jost - 37 J.T. Compher - 83 Matt Nieto
49 Samuel Girard - 8 Cale Makar
* 27 Ryan Graves - 6 Erik Johnson
* 16 Nikita Zadorov - 28 Ian Cole
39 Pavel Francouz
31 Philipp Grubauer
Scratches: Mark Barberio, Vladislav Kamenev
Injury Report: Colin Wilson (lower body, out indefinitely)
* Subject to change