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Avalanche at Canadiens preview

Landeskog returns for Colorado; Primeau to make NHL debut with Montreal

by Sean Farrell / Independent Correspondent

AVALANCHE (17-8-2) at CANADIENS (12-10-6)

7 p.m. ET; TSN2, RDS, ALT, NHL.TV


The Game

Gabriel Landeskog will be in the lineup for the Colorado Avalanche when they try for a fifth straight win, against the Montreal Canadiens at Bell Centre on Thursday.

The forward, who has missed the past 16 games because of a lower-body injury, has seven points (three goals, four assists) in 11 games this season. Colorado, which has outscored its opponents 19-7 during a four-game winning streak, has gone 9-6-1 without Landeskog.

Forward Andre Burakovsky, who hasn't played since Nov. 27 because of an upper-body injury, will also return. Center Nazem Kadri will not play after sustaining a lower-body injury in a 3-1 win at the Toronto Maple Leafs on Thursday.

Goalie Cayden Primeau will make his NHL debut for Montreal. The 20-year-old son of former NHL forward Keith Primeau was recalled from Laval of the American Hockey League on Monday and will start in the first of back-to-back games for Montreal. Primeau is 7-4-1 with a 2.58 goals-against average and .910 save percentage in 12 AHL games this season.

The Canadiens will try for a second straight win following an eight-game winless streak (0-5-3), their longest since 2002-03.


Players to watch

Avalanche forward Nathan MacKinnon has 18 points (seven goals, 11 assists) during an eight-game point streak. He will look to score in a sixth straight game, which would match his longest goal streak in the NHL (Oct. 4-16, 2018), and tie the longest goal streak in the NHL this season (Patrick Kane, Chicago Blackhawks; Nov. 7-17).

Canadiens defenseman Shea Weber has six points (three goals, three assists) in his past six games. 


They said it

"I like to see the guys come back fully ready where they can help make an impact. But some of those guys have been out a long time, and we want to get them back in and they're anxious to get back in." -- Avalanche coach Jared Bednar 

"He's one of those guys that just seems to be square and in the right position, makes the right save, and he doesn't look like a guy who's scrambling to get back in position, and that's served him well to date." -- Canadiens coach Claude Julien on rookie goalie Cayden Primeau


Avalanche projected lineup

Mikko Rantanen -- Nathan MacKinnon -- Joonas Donskoi

Gabriel Landeskog -- J.T. Compher -- Andre Burakovsky

Matt Calvert -- Pierre-Edouard Bellemare -- Valeri Nichushkin

Matt Nieto -- Tyson Jost -- T.J. Tynan

Ryan Graves -- Cale Makar

Samuel Girard -- Nikita Zadorov

Mark Barberio -- Ian Cole

Pavel Francouz

Philipp Grubauer

Scratched: Calle Rosen 

Injured: Nazem Kadri (lower body), Vladislav Kamenev (illness), Colin Wilson (lower body), Erik Johnson (lower body)

Canadiens projected lineup

Tomas Tatar -- Phillip Danault -- Brendan Gallagher

Nick Cousins -- Max Domi -- Nick Suzuki

Artturi Lehkonen -- Jesperi Kotkaniemi -- Joel Armia

Matthew Peca -- Nate Thompson -- Jordan Weal

Ben Chiarot -- Shea Weber

Brett Kulak -- Jeff Petry

Otto Leskinen -- Cale Fleury

Cayden Primeau

Carey Price

Scratched: Mike Reilly, Charles Hudon

Injured: Jonathan Drouin (wrist), Paul Byron (knee), Victor Mete (ankle)


Status report

The Avalanche assigned forward Logan O'Connor to Colorado of the AHL. … Byron skated for the first time since he was injured Nov. 15. … Leskinen was recalled from Laval of the AHL on Wednesday and will make his NHL debut.


Stat pack

Rantanen has five points (one goal, four assists) in two games since missing 16 because of a lower-body injury … Danault has four points (one goal, three assists) in his past four games.

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