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Avalanche at Golden Knights preview

Colorado playing first game without injured Rantanen against Fleury, Vegas

by Danny Webster / Independent Correspondent




The Game

The Colorado Avalanche will play their first game without Mikko Rantanen when they visit the Vegas Golden Knights at T-Mobile Arena on Friday.

Rantanen, who is tied with linemate Nathan MacKinnon for the most points on the Avalanche with 12 (five goals, seven assists), is week to week after sustaining a lower-body injury in a 3-1 loss to the St. Louis Blues on Monday.

MacKinnon has five goals and seven assists in a season-opening nine-game point streak.

Marc-Andre Fleury is expected to start for Vegas, which has won five of its past seven games and is back home after going 2-1-0 on a three-game road trip.


Players to watch

Avalanche forward J.T. Compher, who has four points (one goal, three assists) in six games this season, will replace Rantanen on the top line. 

Golden Knights forward Mark Stone has eight points (four goals, four assists) during a seven-game point streak.


They said it

"When I'm playing well, I'm playing with speed and playing hard. I think I can bring that to this line. They already play with a ton of speed, so I'm hoping to complement them as best I can." -- Avalanche forward J.T. Compher 

"Make them play defense, make them turn around. When we're successful, I think we get the puck deep behind them and we grind and play a heavy game. If it doesn't work right away, we've got to stick to that game plan." -- Golden Knights center Paul Stastny on slowing down the Avalanche


Avalanche projected lineup

Gabriel Landeskog -- Nathan MacKinnon -- J.T. Compher

Joonas Donskoi -- Nazem Kadri -- Andre Burakovsky

Colin Wilson -- Tyson Jost -- Valeri Nichushkin

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

Samuel Girard -- Erik Johnson

Ian Cole -- Cale Makar

Ryan Graves -- Nikita Zadorov

Philipp Grubauer

Pavel Francouz

Scratched: Mark Barberio, Vladislav Kamenev

Injured: Mikko Rantanen (lower body)


Golden Knights projected lineup

Jonathan Marchessault -- William Karlsson -- Reilly Smith

Max Pacioretty -- Paul Stastny -- Mark Stone

Brandon Pirri -- Cody Eakin -- Cody Glass

William Carrier -- Tomas Nosek -- Ryan Reaves

Brayden McNabb -- Shea Theodore

Jon Merrill -- Nick Holden

Jake Bischoff -- Deryk Engelland

Marc-Andre Fleury

Garret Sparks

Scratched: Nicolas Hague, Nicolas Roy

Injured: Nate Schmidt (lower body), Alex Tuch (upper body), Malcolm Subban (lower body)

Suspended: Valentin Zykov


Status report

Bellemare will play against the Golden Knights for the first time since signing with the Avalanche as a free agent July 1. He spent the previous two seasons with Vegas … Makar and Zadorov will be split after playing the first nine games together. … Sparks was recalled from Chicago of the American Hockey League on Wednesday after Oscar Dansk was reassigned. 


Stat pack

Fleury is 3-0-0 with a 0.95 goals-against average, a .970 save percentage and one shutout in his past three starts. … Grubauer is 2-1-1 with a 3.17 GAA and .902 save percentage in his past four starts.

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