AVALANCHE (17-40-3) at FLYERS (28-26-7)
7 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CSN-PH, NHL.TV
Avalanche team scope
The Colorado Avalanche start a three-game road trip with questions swirling, most of them related to the NHL Trade Deadline (March 1, 3 p.m.). Center Matt Duchene, who has been involved in much of the speculation, told the Denver Post on Monday that he's looking forward to the deadline passing and getting back to focusing on hockey. "It's hard to look past three days right now," he said. "I can't really look past that because I just don't know where I'm going to be. So we'll see what happens." Other players are doing what they can to focus on what they have to do to start winning games. "I'm just focusing on [the Philadelphia Flyers]," center Nathan MacKinnon said. "[Monday] we had a good practice, and focus on [Tuesday] in Philly and keep doing that." Coach Jared Bednar said the rumors have surrounded his team for a while now and said he doesn't expect to see a different mindset from his players. "We've been dealing with the rumors for quite some time," he said. "I think our guys have done a good job handing the outside noise that's been coming our way."
Flyers team scope
The Philadelphia Flyers remain focused on making a run for a spot in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, despite what could happen before the trade deadline. "Doesn't matter if we keep all our guys, trade a few guys, whatever [general manager Ron Hextall] plans on doing, doesn't change our opinion of what we have in mind," forward Brayden Schenn said. "And that's making the playoffs and making a run these last 21 games." The Flyers are six points out of the second wild card from the Eastern Conference but remain confident. "We believe in this group," Schenn said. "I know we've been sliding a bit of late, but we've been in this position before. We've got 21 games left, six points out, battling with a lot of teams, but it's very doable. … You win some games, you win the right games, we should put ourselves in a good position." Finding more offense will help; they have 17 goals in 11 games since the All-Star break. Defenseman Shayne Gostisbehere scored his first goal in 34 games against the Pittsburgh Penguins on Saturday and the hope is that he and others in goal droughts will get hot. "I think the next thing is when you get one they generally seem to come in bunches," forward Wayne Simmonds said. "Hopefully that happens for him." Goalie Steve Mason will play for the first time since Feb. 9; Michal Neuvirth had started the previous seven games.
Avalanche projected lineup
Gabriel Landeskog -- Nathan MacKinnon -- Blake Comeau
Mikko Rantanen -- Matt Duchene -- Matt Nieto
Joe Colborne -- John Mitchell -- Jarome Iginla
Andreas Martinsen -- Mikhail Grigorenko -- Rene Bourque
Fedor Tyutin -- Tyson Barrie
Patrick Wiercioch -- Erik Johnson
Francois Beauchemin -- Mark Barberio
Scratched: Cody Goloubef, Carl Soderberg
Injured: Nikita Zadorov (ankle), Semyon Varlamov (groin)
Flyers projected lineup
Jordan Weal -- Claude Giroux -- Wayne Simmonds
Nick Cousins -- Brayden Schenn -- Jakub Voracek
Michael Raffl -- Sean Couturier -- Dale Weise
Chris VandeVelde -- Pierre-Edouard Bellemare -- Matt Read
Ivan Provorov -- Andrew MacDonald
Shayne Gostisbehere -- Mark Streit
Michael Del Zotto -- Radko Gudas
Scratched: Nick Schultz, Roman Lyubimov
Injured: Travis Konecny (lower body)
Suspended: Brandon Manning
The Avalanche did not have a morning skate. Bednar said Smith will make his second straight start. He made 34 saves in a 5-3 defeat of the Buffalo Sabres on Saturday for his first NHL win. "I'm going back with Smith because I really liked his game the other night," Bednar said Tuesday. "I thought he was strong in net. I feel like he's earned another start here. We came out firing early [Saturday], built a three-goal lead and then he was put under duress for a little bit. He made some big saves to keep us in there. He's a confident guy right now, got his first NHL win. We're going to see if we can't ride that confidence a litle bit." Bednar said Pickard, who didn't play Saturday because of a sore neck, is healthy. … Del Zotto will play in place of Manning, who received a two-game suspension from the NHL Department of Player Safety on Monday. Konecny took part in an optional morning skate for the first time since he was injured Feb. 6. He wore a non-contact jersey but engaged in battle drills with Manning at the end of practice. "It's hard to determine exactly when [he'll return]," Konecny said. "I guess from here on out we keep building it up, keep building the intensity. When it comes to me being good to go … I don't know exactly when it'll be but hopefully sooner than later."
Landeskog had two goals and an assist against Buffalo. … Schenn has three goals and two assists during a four-game point streak.