Coming off a dismal performance against the Detroit Red Wings on Tuesday, the Colorado Avalanche head home for a game against the New York Islanders -- their only visit to Denver this season. With that loss, Colorado's hot road start to the season is a distant memory. The club's record now stands at 7-7-1, including a 1-5 record at Pepsi Center.
The Islanders and Avalanche are linked through the 2009 NHL Draft, when New York took center John Tavares with the first overall pick, allowing Colorado to select center Matt Duchene third overall.
|2011 - John Tavares||12||8||5||13||-2||8||4||0||1||45|
|2011 - Matt Duchene||15||5||7||12||-2||0||3||0||1||28|
I think it's safe to say that both teams are happy with their choices so far. Tavares is enjoying a breakout season after signing a contract extension this September worth $33 million over six years. Because their careers are so linked, this is a likely comparison for Matt Duchene when he reaches restricted free agency this next offseason.
On the ice this year, the Islanders have had their share of struggles. Aside from Tavares, goalscorers have been in short supply for New York -- only three other Islanders have scored more than two goals on the season. Their defense has allowed nearly 30 shots per game, putting added pressure on their trio of goaltenders.
On the Colorado side, Peter Mueller continues to struggle in his attempted return from concussion issues. While rumored to be a possibility for the lineup tonight, he has been confirmed as a scratch. Jean-Sebastien Giguere will get his first start at Pepsi Center in an Avalanche sweater, as Semyon Varlamov gets a much-needed night off after being pulled midway through the Detroit game on Tuesday.
Puck drops at 7:00 p.m. MDT from Pepsi Center.