With playoffs pretty well out of the picture, the team is doing the best it can with these remaining games by letting some of the kids play. Ryan Donato returns to the lineup tonight, but he will be part of a fourth line centered by Patrick Marleau and featuring Kevn Labanc, who also recently missed a game with a nagging injury.
But the bigger story tonight will be Ivan Chekhovich’s NHL debut. The 22-year-old was loaned to the KHL for their entirety of their season, putting up 34 points in 43 games with the Torpedo Nizhny Novgorod. Since joining the San Jose Barracuda upon the conclusion of the Torpedo’s season, he’s notched two goals and five assists in 17 AHL games. Chekhovich was drafted in the seventh round (212 overall) of the 2017 NHL Draft.
The Avalanche have three players returning from COVID-19 protocols: top-line forward Mikko Rantanen, starting goaltender Philipp Grubauer and former Sharks forward Joonas Donskoi.
Here’s everything you need to know to tune in tonight:
SAN JOSE SHARKS
Alexander Barabanov — Tomas Hertl — Evander Kane
Rudolfs Balcers — Logan Couture — Ivan Chekhovich
Timo Meier — Alexander True — Noah Gregor
Kevin Labanc — Patrick Marleau — Ryan Donato
Mario Ferraro — Brent Burns
Nikolai Knyzhov — Erik Karlsson
Christian Jaros — Marc-Edouard Vlasic
Expected Scratches: John Leonard, Greg Pateryn, Brinson Pasichnuk, Marcus Sorensen
Injured Reserve: Joachim Blichfeld (undisclosed), Dylan Gambrell (foot), Matt Nieto (lower body), Radim Simek (upper body)
Gabriel Landeskog — Nathan MacKinnon - Mikko Rantanen
Valeri Nichushkin — Nazem Kadri - Andre Burakovsky
Carl Soderberg — Tyson Jost — Joonas Donskoi
Kiefer Sherwood — Pierre-Edouard Bellemare — J.T. Compher
Devon Toews — Samuel Girard
Ryan Graves — Cale Makar
Patrik Nemeth — Conor Timmins
Expected Scratches: Liam O’Brien
Injured Reserve: Bowen Byram (upper body), Matt Calvert (upper body), Jacob MacDonald (lower body), Logan O’Connor (lower body), Brandon Saad (lower body)
How to Watch
Puck drop is at 6 p.m. PT/9 p.m. ET at Pepsi Center in Denver, Colorado. Tonight’s game will be broadcast regionally on NBC Sports California+ and Altitude, as well as available to stream through NHL.tv (blackout restrictions apply).
Follow along in the comments for live updates and reactions throughout the game!