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Avalanche at Maple Leafs preview

Marner will return for Toronto; Kadri back for first time with Colorado against former team

by Dave McCarthy / Independent Correspondent

AVALANCHE (16-8-2) at MAPLE LEAFS (13-12-4)

7 p.m. ET; SN, SN360, TVAS, ALT, NHL.TV


The Game

Mitchell Marner will return to the Toronto Maple Leafs lineup when they host the Colorado Avalanche at Scotiabank Arena on Wednesday.

The forward, who missed 11 games because of an ankle injury sustained against the Philadelphia Flyers on Nov. 9, practiced with the Maple Leafs on Monday. He has 18 points (four goals, 14 assists) in 18 games this season.

Goalie Frederik Andersen will start the second of a back to back for Toronto, which is 4-2-0 in its past six games following a six-game winless streak (0-5-1). Andersen, who allowed four goals in the third period of a 6-1 loss to the Philadelphia Flyers on Tuesday, was originally scheduled to back up Michael Hutchinson on Wednesday, but he asked coach Sheldon Keefe to play because he was not happy with how the game ended.  

Nazem Kadri will return to Toronto for the first time with the Avalanche. The center, selected by the Maple Leafs with the No. 7 pick in the 2009 NHL Draft, spent the first 561 games of his League career with Toronto, with 357 points (161 goals, 196 assists). He was traded to the Avalanche with defenseman Calle Rosen and a third-round pick in the 2020 NHL Draft for center Alexander Kerfoot, defenseman Tyson Barrie and a sixth-round pick in the 2020 NHL Draft on July 1.

Goalie Philipp Grubauer will start for Colorado, which seeks its fourth straight win and ninth victory in 12 games (8-3-0).


Players to watch

Avalanche center Nathan MacKinnon has 16 points (six goals, 10 assists) in a seven-game point streak.

Maple Leafs captain John Tavares has six points (four goals, two assists) in his past four games. 


They said it

"It's a little different even walking out to the ice from the visiting side, I got a little lost, almost needed a map or something. I'm trying not to think too much about it. Part of me wants it over and done with and part of me wants to just enjoy the moment because I've worked hard for it." -- Avalanche center Nazem Kadri

"It's a tough way to go but in the big picture it's probably a better way for things to finish for us to get the shake-up perhaps that we need before tomorrow's game." -- Maple Leafs coach Sheldon Keefe on giving up four goals in the final 3:28 during a 6-1 loss to the Philadelphia Flyers on Tuesday


Avalanche projected lineup

Joonas Donskoi -- Nathan MacKinnon -- Mikko Rantanen

Matt Calvert -- Nazem Kadri -- J.T. Compher

Valeri Nichushkin -- Pierre-Edouard Bellemare -- Logan O'Connor

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

Cale Makar -- Nikita Zadorov

Samuel Girard -- Calle Rosen

Ian Cole -- Ryan Graves

Philipp Grubauer

Pavel Francouz

Scratched: Mark Barberio

Injured: Vladislav Kamenev (illness), Gabriel Landeskog (lower body), Colin Wilson (lower body), Erik Johnson (lower body), Andre Burakovsky (upper body)


Maple Leafs projected lineup 

Andreas Johnsson -- Auston Matthews -- William Nylander

Ilya Mikheyev -- John Tavares -- Mitchell Marner

Zach Hyman -- Alexander Kerfoot -- Kasperi Kapanen

Pierre Engvall -- Frederik Gauthier - Dmytro Timashov

Morgan Rielly -- Cody Ceci

Jake Muzzin -- Justin Holl

Travis Dermott -- Tyson Barrie

Frederik Andersen

Michael Hutchinson

Scratched: Jason Spezza

Injured: Trevor Moore (shoulder)


Status report

Burakovsky and Landeskog each took part in the morning skate Wednesday but will not play. Avalanche coach Jared Bednar said each could be available at the the Montreal Canadiens on Thursday. … The Maple Leafs, who did not hold a morning skate, loaned defenseman Martin Marincin and forward Nic Petan to Toronto of the American Hockey League on Wednesday.


Stat pack

Kadri has five points (three goals, two assists) in his past four games. … Donskoi has seven points (two goals, five assists) in his past four games. … Rielly will play in his 500th NHL game.

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