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Preview: Colorado faces Pittsburgh in matinee matchup

Mar 22, 2023; Denver, Colorado, USA; Pittsburgh Penguins right wing Josh Archibald (15) and Colorado Avalanche goaltender Alexandar Georgiev (40) reach for the puck in the first period at Ball Arena. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

Today, the Colorado Avalanche hope to continue their winning ways against the Pittsburgh Penguins in a Sunday afternoon matinee matchup. This is the second and final regular-season matchup between these two clubs, with the Penguins taking the first game by a final score of 4-0.

Colorado Avalanche (45-20-5)

The Avs come into this game just about as hot as they can be currently riding an eight-game win streak. Their most recent victory was on Friday, March 22 against the Columbus Blue Jackets, and Colorado won by a final score of 6-1. Nathan MacKinnon extended his home-point streak during that game, officially tying Wayne Gretzky for the second-longest home-point streak at 33 consecutive home games, which Gretzky set during the 1985-1986 season.

Colorado did have a low-key optional practice yesterday and didn’t have a morning skate this morning due to the afternoon puck drop time. Because of that, we won’t know the starting goaltender until game time. If there was ever a trap game for the Avs this season, this one would probably be it. Matinee games are always a little weird to play just due to the odd start times, but this is a winnable game for Colorado if they keep doing what they’ve been doing, it’s as simple as that.

Projected Lines

Valeri Nichushkin (13) – Nathan MacKinnon (29) – Mikko Rantanen (96)
Artturi Lehkonen (62) – Casey Mittelstadt (37) – Jonathan Drouin (27)
Brandon Duhaime (12) – Ross Colton (20) – Zach Parise (9)
Miles Wood (28) – Yakov Trenin (73) – Andrew Cogliano (11)

Devon Toews (7) – Cale Makar (8)
Samuel Girard (49) – Josh Manson (42)
Jack Johnson (3) – Sean Walker (26)

Alexandar Georgiev (40) / Justus Annunen (60)

Pittsburgh Penguins (30-30-9)

The Penguins come into this game off of a 4-2 loss to the Dallas Stars. Unfortunately, at this point in the season, Pittsburgh is probably out of the wild card race in the Eastern Conference. That being said, however, they remain a talented team and they’re getting an exceptional season out of Sidney Crosby, so they are more than capable of making some noise down the stretch and beating good teams. You cannot take this Penguins team for granted this afternoon.

Projected lines

Drew O’Connor (10) – Sidney Crosby (87) – Bryan Rust (17)
Michael Bunting (8) – Evgeni Malkin (71) – Rickard Rakell (67)
Reilly Smith (19) – Lars Eller (20) – Valtteri Puustinen (48)
Jesse Puljujarvi (18) – Noel Acciari (55) – Emil Bemstrom (52)

Pierre Olivier-Joseph (73) – Kris Letang (58)
Marcus Pettersson (28) – Erik Karlsson (65)
John Ludvig (7) – Jack St. Ivany (3)

Alex Nedeljkovic (39)

Broadcast Details

Time: 12:00 p.m. MST

Watch: TNT, Max

Listen: Altitude Sports Radio, 92.5 FM

Opponent’s Beat: Tux Pucks

Talking Points