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Preview: Avalanche at Penguins

Goalie Calvin Pickard starts for Colorado; Pittsburgh concludes three-game homestand

by Wes Crosby / Correspondent

AVALANCHE (1-0-0) at PENGUINS (2-0-0)

7 p.m. ET; SN1, ROOT, ALT, NHL.TV


Avalanche team scope

Goalie Calvin Pickard will start in place of Semyon Varlamov, who allowed five goals in a 6-5 win against the Dallas Stars on Saturday. Pickard went 7-6-1 in 20 appearances (13 starts) with a 2.56 goals-against average and .922 save percentage last season. His lone appearance against Pittsburgh came in his rookie season, when he made 47 saves in a 1-0 overtime loss on Dec. 18, 2014. Forward Blake Comeau, Pickard's Avalanche teammate, scored 2:24 into overtime for the Penguins. Comeau expressed confidence in Pickard before saying he gave him "a few jabs at dinner last night" regarding the overtime goal. "When he played for us last year, he was outstanding," Comeau said. "We were in a playoff battle at the end of the year and he came up and played some really important games for us, and played really well. We're actually lucky we have both the goaltenders that we have." Forward Rene Bourque participated in the morning skate after missing practice Sunday. Coach Jared Bednar said the lineup would remain the same with the exception of Pickard replacing Varlamov.


Penguins team scope

Forward Sidney Crosby skated on his own again Monday, and stopped to speak with fellow Cole Harbour, Nova Scotia, native Nathan MacKinnon, but did not join the Penguins for their morning skate. Coach Mike Sullivan said Crosby continues to progress and remains day to day. He has yet to play this season with a concussion sustained during an Oct. 7 practice. The Penguins lineup likely won't change from a 3-2 win against the Anaheim Ducks on Saturday. They finish a three-game homestand against the Avalanche before going on the road for the first time this season to face the Montreal Canadiens on Tuesday. Goalie Marc-Andre Fleury, who has stopped 73 of 77 shots through two starts, will start. Defenseman Ian Cole said Fleury's strong start was expected. "Is it surprising? No," Cole said. "I don't think anyone here is surprised by that. He's been the No. 1 goaltender here for 10 years now. He's accomplished so much throughout his long career and I think he'll continue to accomplish so much as his career goes on."


Avalanche projected lineup

Gabriel Landeskog -- Nathan MacKinnon -- Jarome Iginla

Mikhail Grigorenko -- Carl Soderberg -- Matt Duchene

Gabriel Bourque -- Joe Colborne -- Rene Bourque

Andreas Martinsen -- Ben Smith -- Blake Comeau

Nikita Zadorov -- Erik Johnson

Francois Beauchemin -- Tyson Barrie

Fedor Tyutin -- Patrick Wiercioch

Calvin Pickard

Semyon Varlamov

Scratched: Cody McLeod, Eric Gelinas

Injured: John Mitchell (hip)


Penguins projected lineup

Scott Wilson -- Evgeni Malkin -- Patric Hornqvist

Carl Hagelin -- Nick Bonino -- Phil Kessel

Chris Kunitz -- Matt Cullen -- Conor Sheary

Tom Sestito -- Eric Fehr -- Tom Kuhnhackl

Brian Dumoulin -- Kris Letang

Olli Maatta -- Trevor Daley

Ian Cole -- Justin Schultz

Marc-Andre Fleury

Mike Condon

Scratched: Derrick Pouliot

Injured: Sidney Crosby (concussion), Matt Murray (broken hand), Bryan Rust (undisclosed)


Status report

Rust took part in Pittsburgh's morning skate, but will likely miss a third consecutive game to start the season with an undisclosed injury. … Sullivan said Murray (broken hand) is getting close to joining the Penguins for practice. He skated with Crosby before the morning skate. … Mitchell (hip) did not travel with the Avalanche for their four-game road trip.


Who's hot

Kessel scored the game-deciding goal in Pittsburgh's win against Anaheim on Saturday. He also scored the deciding shootout goal in the Penguins 3-2 season-opening win at the Washington Capitals on Oct. 13. … Colborne scored a hat trick in Colorado's win against the Dallas Stars Saturday

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