Finally. After missing 21 games due to a broken pinky finger suffered in a fight on November 27 against the Minnesota Wild, Colorado Avalanche forward Chris Stewart finally makes his return to the ice healthy and ready to play...against the Minnesota Wild.
Colorado needs his help. Though they stayed afloat during his absence, the offense has been sputtering of late, scoring one goal or less in five of their past 11 games. Colorado has been shut out three times during that stretch after not suffering a single shutout in the 33 previous games this season. Stewart should bring instant impact to the Avalanche front line, pairing with David Jones and Paul Stastny. Before injury, Stewart was scoring over a point per game, and his physical presence in front of the net should help a power play that has suffered, going 0-13 the past four games.
Minnesota comes into this game trailing Colorado by only three points in the standings, but only scoring one total goal in their past two games. Martin Havlat and Mikko Koivu are having their traditionally great seasons, but the offense as a whole has struggled. There may be a new face in net tonight as Anton Khudobin will likely get the start for the Wild, due to injuries to both Jose Theodore and Niklas Bakstrom. Khudobin, 24, has yet to make a start this season.
Cody McLeod is also expected to return to the lineup. Craig Anderson will get the start in net for Colorado after sitting on the bench the previous two games.
Puck drops at 6:00pm MST.