Avalanche briefly turns to NHL Outdoors in Lake Tahoe on Saturday
For about 20 minutes on Monday, Avalanche captain Gabe Landeskog and star defenseman Cale Makar watched past Tuesday’s rematch against the Vegas Golden Knights at T-Mobile Arena.
Landeskog and Makar did not play in Sunday’s 1-0 loss to the Knights in Las Vegas, but Makar could play on Tuesday and the two will likely be in the lineup against the Knights on Saturday at an NBC televised event at Lake Tahoe.
Saturday’s contest, the third in a four-game “streak” against Vegas, was the topic on Monday as the outdoor game approached on the 18th fairway at Edgewood Tahoe Resort Golf Course. Landeskog, who is at the end of his COVID-19 protocol, confirmed he will train with the Avs at the Lake Tahoe rink on Friday. So was Makar, who missed Sunday’s game with an upper body injury.
“I like being there, but at the end of the day it’s a pretty important game (Saturday) so I think quite a few guys are excited – I can’t wait to be there,” Makar said. from Las Vegas during a video conference. which also included Vegas forwards Mark Stone and Jonathan Marchessault. “But, yeah, you still want to take it day to day.”
Landeskog, who was added to the COVID protocol absentee list on February 4, appeared to be speaking from his home office in Denver.
“I think it’s one of the purest forms of the game we can play,” he said of his third outdoor game with the Avs. “Most of us grew up skating on lakes and outdoor rinks and it just makes it extra special to be able to do it at the highest level possible. Normally large crowds make it very special and this time it will be a little different, but nonetheless a very unique experience.
Construction on Lake Tahoe began last week for a two-game weekend event that won’t have fans. The Philadelphia Flyers and Boston Bruins also play on the south shore of Lake Tahoe on another Sunday morning.
Defense in depth. The Avs, despite the absence of three of their best defenders on Sunday, allowed just 24 shots and one goal against the Knights, the leading scorers. Colorado was missing Makar, Sam Girard and Erik Johnson at the back. But defender Devon Toews, who had missed the previous three games with an ankle / foot injury, recorded a high of 25:56 to lead the team. Rookie defenseman Bo Byram, 19, posted a career high of 23:07 and led the Avs with five hits. He also blocked three shots. And Ryan Graves played 9:35 in what coach Jared Bednar said was his best game of the season.
Bednar also had good things to say about replacement defenseman Jacob MacDonald, who scored 19:41 in his third NHL appearance this season. Had it not been for his two penalties, rookie defenseman Conor Timmins (7:00 p.m.) would probably also have been commended.
The Avalanche’s defensive depth still includes Greg Pateryn, who was acquired from Minnesota in return for defenseman Ian Cole last month. But Pateryn is currently playing for the AHL’s Colorado Eagles while earning his $ 2.5 million salary.
Footnotes. Goalkeeper Adam Werner is with the Avs on emergency loan and the 2016 fifth-round pick backed starter Philipp Grubauer for the first time this season on Sunday. Hunter Miska, who made two starts to give Grubauer a break, is also with the team on emergency loan as the Eagles go with Peyton Jones and Trent Minor to the net. Grubauer’s ideal replacement, Pavel Francouz, remains on the long-term injury list with a lower body injury. … Due to the COVID-19 protocol, Avs defenseman Sam Girard has ended his streak of 231 consecutive games in the regular season. It was the second longest streak of all time by an Avalanche defender behind Martin Skoula (285).