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Avalanche at Canucks preview

Bibeau to make first start for Colorado; Demko in goal for Vancouver

by Kevin Woodley / Independent Correspondent

AVALANCHE (11-6-2) at CANUCKS (10-7-3)

10 p.m. ET; CBC, SN, SN360, SN1, CITY, ALT, NHL.TV


The Game 

Goalie Antoine Bibeau will make his first start for the Colorado Avalanche when they visit the Vancouver Canucks at Rogers Arena on Saturday.

The 25-year-old made nine saves on 10 shots in relief of Adam Werner in his season debut on Thursday, in a 6-2 loss at the Edmonton Oilers. Avalanche No. 1 goalie Philipp Grubauer has missed four games with a lower-body injury and backup Pavel Francouz sustained a head injury 31 seconds into a 4-0 win at the Winnipeg Jets on Tuesday. 

Bibeau will start his first NHL game since the 2016-17 season, when he started two games for the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Defenseman Nikita Zadorov will return after missing three games with a broken jaw for Colorado, which is 3-1-0 in its past four games following a five-game winless streak (0-4-1).

Goalie Thatcher Demko will start for the Canucks, 1-4-1 in their past six games after going 5-0-2 in their previous seven.


Players to watch

Avalanche center Nazem Kadri has five points (one goal, four assists) in a season-long four-game point streak.

Canucks center Elias Pettersson has 18 points (six goals, 12 assists) in his past 13 games.

They said it 

"I'm all healed up, I wouldn't step on the ice if I was not 100 percent. Extra protection on the face but everything else, nothing changes, I have been training hard past five days." -- Avalanche defenseman Nikita Zadorov

"The whole team is really excited. We all love these jerseys and I think we look big and mean and scary in black so hopefully we can play like that." -- Canucks center Bo Horvat on wearing Vancouver's "flying skate" alternate jerseys for the first time this season


Avalanche projected lineup

Joonas Donskoi -- Nathan MacKinnon -- Matt Calvert

Andre Burakovsky -- Nazem Kadri -- J.T. Compher

Valeri Nichushkin -- Pierre-Edouard Bellemare -- Matt Nieto

Vladislav Kamenev -- Jayson Megna -- T.J. Tynan

Samuel Girard -- Erik Johnson

Ryan Graves -- Cale Makar

Ian Cole -- Nikita Zadorov

Antoine Bibeau

Adam Werner

Scratched: Mark Barberio, Kevin Connauton

Injured: Tyson Jost (upper body), Mikko Rantanen (lower body), Gabriel Landeskog (lower body), Colin Wilson (lower body), Philipp Grubauer (lower body), Pavel Francouz (head)


Canucks projected lineup

J.T. Miller -- Elias Pettersson -- Brock Boeser

Tanner Pearson -- Bo Horvat -- Jake Virtanen

Sven Baertschi -- Adam Gaudette -- Josh Leivo

Tim Schaller -- Tyler Graovac -- Loui Eriksson

Alexander Edler -- Tyler Myers

Quinn Hughes -- Christopher Tanev

Jordie Benn -- Troy Stecher

Thatcher Demko 

Jacob Markstrom

Scratched: Oscar Fantenberg, Zack MacEwen

Injured: Jay Beagle (lower body), Brandon Sutter (groin strain), Tyler Motte (foot), Antoine Roussel (knee), Micheal Ferland (concussion protocol)


Status report

Jost is day to day. … Grubauer was a full participant during the morning skate Saturday for the first time and could return soon. … Francouz skated after practice Saturday but is still in concussion protocol. … Beagle will miss his third straight game but is expected to play at the Dallas Stars on Tuesday.


Stat pack

Makar has seven points (four goals, three assists) in his past five games. … Pearson has four points (two goals, two assists) in his past two games.

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