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Avalanche Vs. Penguins: Plenty Of Stars Amiss

The long awaited return of Sidney Crosby and his Pittsburgh Penguins to the Pepsi Center has turned into a disappointing matchup between two teams limping towards season's end.

Crosby hasn't played in a game since January 5, as he is still recovering from a concussion. Evgeni Malkin tore his ACL and MCL last week, and underwent season-ending surgery. On the Colorado Avalanche side, Peter Forsberg retired before the Avalanche's most recent homestand, and Matt Duchene has been confirmed as suffering a hand injury. Duchene will miss his first game of the season tonight.

Both teams have had a rough stretch the past two weeks. The Avalanche lost their last game by a 9-1 margin against divisional foe Calgary Flames. The Penguins were involved in a massive brawl against the New York Islanders in a game they eventually lost 9-3. Colorado has lost eight games in a row, the longest current streak in the NHL. 15 of their last 25 games are on the road. Pittsburgh is 1-4 in their past five games.

Peter Budaj will get the start in net for Colorado after being pulled from Monday's debacle against Calgary. Marc-Andre Fleury will be in net for Pittsburgh.

Puck drops at 7:00 p.m. MST.