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Elite Avs Look to Extend Win Streak to 10

Sabres continue road trip in midst of COVID and injury woes

NHL: Buffalo Sabres at Colorado Avalanche Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

Game 44

Buffalo Sabres vs. Colorado Avalanche

Puck Drop: 8:00 PM EST | Ball Arena | Denver, Colorado

TV: MSG-B

Radio: WGR 550

SB Nation Avalanche Blog: Mile High Hockey

Know Your Opponent

Colorado Avalanche

Record: (31-8-3) | 65 PTS

Division Ranking: 1st in Central Division

Last Game: 6-4 win vs. Blackhawks

PP: 25.6% (T6th)

PK: 75.6% (25th)

1. Oh, Captain, Their Captain

It is no secret that Colorado has an excellent, stacked team. Captain Gabriel Landeskog is among the long list of talent on the Avalanche and is especially hot these days. In Friday’s game against the Blackhawks, the Swedish winger recorded two goals and an assist to help lead his team to their ninth straight victory. Will tonight be number 10? Probably. Though, the Sabres did well against the Coyotes last night.

In other news, the Avs have also won 17 straight on home ice. Good luck, Buffalo!

2. Are there any Sabres players left?

It has been an eventful few days for the Sabres as they have essentially run out of goaltenders and are now dealing with several players on the COVID protocol list in addition to a never-ending injury problem. Most recently added to the growing list is Will Butcher, who left last night’s game early with what appeared to be a pretty serious knee injury as he was helped off the ice.

Additionally, Rasmus Asplund, Victor Olofsson, Rasmus Dahlin, and assistant coach Matt Ellis were placed in COVID protocol Saturday afternoon, among others in the Sabres organization.

Of those that have not been slapped with the wrath of COVID or an injury, Peyton Krebs and Alex Tuch have been doing quite well since their trade to Buffalo. So far, Krebs has three goals and two assists in 9 games with the Sabres while Tuch has three goals and seven assists in 10 games. Keep an eye on these two as they were switched to the same line last night after some magic between them on the ice. Jack Eichel who?

3. Missing MacKinnon

While Colorado has no shortage of talent, they will still be missing one of their big stars in Nathan MacKinnon. During Wednesday’s game against the Boston, forward and former Sabre Taylor Hall executed a dirty hit on MacKinnon, causing a facial fracture and concussion. Prior to the injury, MacKinnon had 43 points in 31 games.

Projected Lineups

Buffalo Sabres (Honestly, it is such a mess)

Forwards

Peyton Krebs - Tage Thompson - Alex Tuch

Jeff Skinner - Casey Mittelstadt - Dylan Cozens

Mark Jankowski - ? - Kyle Okposo

Cody Eakin - John Hayden - ?

Defense

Jacob Bryson - Henri Jokiharju

Mattias Samuelsson - Casey Fitzgerald

Mark Pysyk - Robert Hagg

Starting Goaltender: Dustin Tokarski (expected)

Colorado Avalanche

Forwards

Gabriel Landeskog - Mikko Rantanen - Valeri Nichushkin

Alex Newhook - Nazem Kadri - Andre Burakovsky

Tyson Jost - J.T. Compher - Logan O’Connor

Dylan Sikura - Mikhail Maltsev - Nicolas Aube-Kubel

Defense

Devon Toews - Cale Makar

Jack Johnson - Samuel Girard

Kurtis MacDermid - Erik Johnson

Starting Goaltender: Darcy Kuemper