Colorado Avalanche vs Pittsburgh Penguins: NHL Matchup Preview
Get ready for an exciting matchup between the Colorado Avalanche and the Pittsburgh Penguins. The Avalanche are currently undefeated with a perfect 6-0-0 record, sitting comfortably in first place in the Central Division. Meanwhile, the Penguins have struggled, with a 2-4-0 record and eighth place in the Metropolitan Division.
When and How to Watch
The game will take place at 7:00pm Eastern Time. You can catch the action on Sportsnet Pittsburgh or Altitude. If you prefer streaming, you can watch it on ESPN+.
Penguins’ Path Ahead
The Penguins have a couple of home games coming up, facing off against the Ottawa Senators on Saturday and the Anaheim Ducks next Monday. After that, they will embark on their first road trip of the season to California. It will be interesting to see how they fare on the road.
The Avalanche have been impressive so far this season, joining the Vegas Golden Knights and the Boston Bruins as the only teams without a loss. It hasn’t been easy for them, as they have had close games and comebacks. However, they keep finding ways to win, and they currently hold a remarkable 15-game road winning streak dating back to last season.
The Avalanche and Penguins won’t face each other again until March 24th in Denver. It will be intriguing to see how both teams have progressed by that point in the season.
Last Year’s Results
In their previous matchups last year, the Penguins won both games. They secured a close 2-1 overtime victory in February, and then won a satisfying 5-2 game in Denver, breaking a four-game losing streak. It would be interesting to see if history repeats itself.
Tonight’s game features the top two teams in shots per game. The Avalanche sit in first place with 37.5 shots per game, while the Penguins are second in the NHL with 35 shots per game. Additionally, in the last Penguins-Avalanche game in March, Jeff Carter scored two goals. However, he has only managed to score 2 goals and 1 assist in the 17 games since that point. The Avalanche have been one of Carter’s more favorable opponents throughout his career, with 16 goals in 34 games against them.
Getting to Know the Avalanche
Projected Game Lines (from Tuesday’s game)
- Artturi Lehkonen – Nathan MacKinnon – Valeri Nichushkin
- Tomas Tatar – Ryan Johansen – Mikko Rantanen
- Miles Wood – Ross Colton – Jonathan Drouin
- Andrew Cogliano – Frederik Olofsson – Logan O’Connor
- Devon Toews / Cale Makar
- Bowen Byram / Sam Girard
- Jack Johnson / Josh Manson
- Alexandar Georgiev
- Ivan Prosvetov
- Possible scratches:
- Corey Schueneman
- Kurtis MacDermid
- Injured Reserve (IR):
- Gabriel Landeskog
- Pavel Francouz
- Jake Guentzel – Sidney Crosby – Bryan Rust
- Reilly Smith – Evgeni Malkin – Rickard Rakell
- Drew O’Connor – Lars Eller – Radim Zohorna
- Matt Nieto – Noel Acciari – Jeff Carter
- Ryan Graves / Kris Letang
- Marcus Pettersson / Erik Karlsson
- Ryan Shea / Chad Ruhwedel / P.O Joseph
- Tristan Jarry
- Magnus Hellberg
- Expected scratches:
- One of Shea/Joseph/Ruhwedel
- John Ludvig (concussion)
- Injured Reserve (IR):
- Alex Nedeljkovic
- Season opening IR:
- Raivis Ansons
- Will Butcher
First, let’s address the surprise of seeing Jack Johnson still on an NHL team. Gabriel Landeskog remains out due to injury, and his return this season is uncertain. The Avalanche would benefit from his presence in the lineup. In terms of player statistics, the Avalanche have been in excellent form. Six players are producing at a point-per-game pace early in the season. Mikko Rantanen, often underrated, scored 55 goals and 105 points last season. He continues to perform at a high level this year. Cale Makar has also been dominant, recording 1 goal and 2 assists in the last game. Former Penguins target Tomas Tatar has found his scoring touch with the Avalanche. Ryan Johansen has had a strong start to the season after being discarded by the Nashville Predators. And of course, Nathan MacKinnon remains one of the game’s most dynamic and productive players.
Getting to Know the Penguins
Projected Game Lines (from Wednesday’s practice)
Not much has changed for the Penguins since their last practice. John Ludvig is out with a concussion, and Alex Nedeljkovic left practice early due to an undisclosed injury suffered in the game against the Dallas Stars. Tristan Jarry is expected to start tonight, with Magnus Hellberg serving as the backup goaltender. The Penguins are remaining focused and optimistic despite their early season struggles. Erik Karlsson believes in the team’s abilities and sees their current challenges as a fun opportunity for growth. Matt Nieto acknowledges that every player goes through slumps and is confident that they will overcome their current adversity.
The NHL recently released player tracking data, including players’ speed. Jake Guentzel stood out among high-end forwards with bursts of speed. This data highlights the overlooked skills of certain players. Notably, Nathan MacKinnon is also at the top of the list. While burst speed isn’t the sole factor in a player’s effectiveness, it is intriguing to see how players compare in this aspect of the game.
Another game, another milestone in sight for Sidney Crosby. After recording an assist against the Dallas Stars, Crosby is only one assist away from tying Mark Recchi for 15th place all-time in assists. Crosby’s consistent production and impact on the game are evident in his climb up the all-time records.
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