Colorado Avalanche Look to Sweep Pittsburgh Penguins

DENVER, CO - FEBRUARY 9: Nathan MacKinnon
DENVER, CO - FEBRUARY 9: Nathan MacKinnon /

The Colorado Avalanche hope to complete their sweep of the Pittsburgh Penguins with a win in the Pepsi Center tonight.

The Colorado Avalanche are facing the Stanley Cup champion Pittsburgh Penguins at home in the Pepsi Center. This is their second meeting.

Colorado visited the Penguins in Pittsburgh just one week ago. They ground out a 2-1 win, getting a little secondary scoring from defenseman Mark Barberio and forward Blake Comeau. Goalie Jonathan Bernier almost got a shut out until color commentator Peter McNab jinxed him by calling a “shutout against the Stanley Cup champs” with three minutes left in the game. Phil Kessel proceeded to score.

In any case, the Avalanche are coming off a game that they lost in four minutes and 11 seconds to the Tampa Bay Lightning. (Tampa scored four goals in that time. The Avs previous record was five minutes and seven seconds — the Wild scored four goals in that span in the season opener four years ago.)

The Pittsburgh Penguins are coming off a 4-2 victory over the Arizona Coyotes.

How to Enjoy the Game

Game time: December 18 , 7:00 pm MT
TV Networks: Altitude TV (Avs feed), ATTSN-PT (Pens feed)
Radio: Altitude Radio (FM 92.5)

Erik Johnson Out

The Colorado Avalanche are going to have to face the best forward in the NHL (Sidney Crosby) and some of his sidekicks without their best defenseman. Erik Johnson has been suspended by the Department of Player Safety for a boarding call in the Tampa Bay Lightning game.

Here’s what I think about that:

Related Story: Erik Johnson Suspended for Boarding

At the time of writing, there was no announcement about how the Avalanche would adjust the defensive corps. They’ve been dressing seven defensemen and 11 forwards for several games now. It could be they’ll just dress another forward.

Otherwise, they’ll have to recall a player from San Antonio because they only have seven defenseman on the roster right now.

Alexander Kerfoot In

More from Mile High Sticking

Rookie forward Alexander Kerfoot may get to play for the first time since the last Pittsburgh Penguins game. He took a slapshot in the foot — ironically, by Johnson. Luckily, he didn’t break his foot. However, the foot was too sore for him to play.

Kerfoot participated in his first full practice yesterday. Coach Jared Bednar said Kerfoot might get to play against Pittsburgh.

Apparently he’s going to be wearing clear plastic shot blockers on his skates. The Avalanche introduced these shot blockers to the players a few years ago, but they haven’t been mandatory.

In Kerfoot’s case, maybe they will be. Bednar sounded pretty convinced that’s the way he wanted the rookie to go.

So, I’m guessing the Colorado Avalanche are going to dress just six defensemen and slot Kerfoot into the lineup without scratching another forward.

Next: What the Avalanche Missed in Kerfoot

This is the final meeting this season between the two teams. After this game, the Avalanche are heading off on a two-game roadie before the Christmas break.