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Avalanche at Penguins preview

Colorado tries to remain undefeated; Pittsburgh has outscored opponents 16-7 in three-game winning streak

by Wes Crosby / Independent Correspondent

AVALANCHE (5-0-0) at PENGUINS (4-2-0)

7 p.m. ET; NBCSN


The Game

The Colorado Avalanche could start a season with six straight wins for the first time since 2013-14 when they face the Pittsburgh Penguins at PPG Paints Arena on Wednesday.

It would match the second-best start in Avalanche/Quebec Nordiques history and be one win behind the 1985-86 Nordiques, who began 7-0-0. Colorado has outscored its opponents 22-12, including a 6-3 win against the Washington Capitals on Monday.

The Penguins have outscored its opponents 16-7 during a three-game winning streak after starting the season with two losses in three games (1-2-0). They scored seven goals in each game of a back-to-back on the road, defeating the Minnesota Wild 7-4 on Saturday and the Winnipeg Jets 7-2 on Sunday.


Players to watch

Avalanche defenseman Cale Makar (six assists in five games) could become the second defenseman in NHL history to begin his regular-season career with a six-game point streak. He would join Marek Zidlicky, who had seven points (two goals, five assists) on a six-game streak for the Nashville Predators from Oct. 9-23, 2003.

Penguins forward Jake Guentzel has six points (four goals, two assists) during a five-game point streak.


They said it

"Where [Makar is] playing, especially on the first power-play unit, he's been great. ... He's just getting better and better." -- Avalanche coach Jared Bednar

"We're trying to implement a gameplan that we think plays to our strengths and helps us win games regardless of where the rink is." -- Penguins coach Mike Sullivan


Avalanche projected lineup

Gabriel Landeskog -- Nathan MacKinnon -- Mikko Rantanen

Joonas Donskoi -- Nazem Kadri -- Andre Burakovsky

Colin Wilson -- Tyson Jost -- J.T. Compher

Matt Calvert -- Pierre-Edouard Bellemare -- Matt Nieto

Erik Johnson -- Samuel Girard

Cale Makar -- Ian Cole

Ryan Graves -- Mark Barberio

Philipp Grubauer

Pavel Francouz

Scratched: Kevin Connauton, Vladislav Kamenev, Nikita Zadorov, Valeri Nichushkin

Injured: None


Penguins projected lineup

Jake Guentzel -- Sidney Crosby -- Dominik Simon

Dominik Kahun -- Sam Lafferty -- Patric Hornqvist

Zach Aston-Reese -- Teddy Blueger -- Brandon Tanev

Adam Johnson -- Joseph Blandisi -- Juuso Riikola

Brian Dumoulin -- Kris Letang

Marcus Pettersson -- Justin Schultz

Jack Johnson -- John Marino

Matt Murray

Tristan Jarry

Scratched: Chad Ruhwedel, Erik Gudbranson

Injured: Evgeni Malkin (lower body), Nick Bjugstad (lower body), Bryan Rust (upper body), Alex Galchenyuk (lower body), Jared McCann (lower body)


Status report

Compher will return after missing three games with a lower-body injury. ... McCann is a game-time decision. The Penguins could use Riikola, a defenseman, at fourth-line right wing if McCann can't play. 


Stat pack

MacKinnon (two goals, six assists), Rantanen (four goals, five assists) and Makar are each on a five-game point streak to open the season. It's the first time three players have started a season on a streak of at least five games in Colorado/Quebec history. ... Crosby (three goals, seven assists) and Letang (two goals, six assists) are each on a six-game point streak.

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