Tonight – Colorado Avalanche at Tampa Bay, 7:30 p.m. EST
A look at the opponent: The Colorado Avalanche (13-9-3, 28 points) have lost their last two games in overtime, including last night’s 2-1 defeat against the Hurricanes in Carolina.
Colorado has now lost four of their last five, and have run into recent injury problems.
In addition to already missing forward Peter Mueller and defenseman Kyle Cumiskey (both with concussions) long term, the Avs lost forwards T.J. Galiardi (broken wrist) and Chris Stewart (broken hand) in November. Stewart is one of the premier power forwards in the game and is a huge loss for Colorado.
Because of the number of injuries to their forward ranks, the Avalanche sent defenseman Scott Hannan to the Washington Capitals in exchange for winger Tomas Fleischmann.
The Avalanche have gotten goaltender Craig Anderson back after missing nine games with a knee injury and three more with a groin injury. While Peter Budaj (9-5-2) did an excellent job filling in while Anderson was out, Colorado is Anderson’s team.
After battling injuries and missing much of the 2009-10 campaign, 34-year-old Milan Hejduk is having a nice rebound season. He leads the club with 28 points.
In addition to the other forwards to keep an eye on – Paul Stastny and Matt Duchene being two of the most dangerous – Colorado also boasts offensive firepower from the blue line.
John-Michael Liles is currently third in scoring by NHL defenseman with 23 points. 21-year-old rookie Kevin Shattenkirk has four goals and 12 points in just 14 games, including five points in his last three contests.
This will be the only matchup between the two clubs this season. The Avs took both meetings last season – by a 3-0 count on November 30, 2009, and a 2-1 decision on December 11, 2009 in Colorado.
Downie Out Indefinitely; Harju Recalled
With Steve Downie out indefinitely with the high ankle sprain suffered against the Boston Bruins on Thursday night, GM Steve Yzerman announced the club has recalled Johan Harju from the Lightning’s AHL affiliate Norfolk Admirals.
The 24-year-old, 6-foot, 3-inch, 210 pound left winger played four games with Tampa Bay to begin the season. He did not record a point with the Bolts and was a -4, and was sent to Norfolk.
In 17 games with the Admirals, Harju leads Norfolk with 13 goals and 23 points.