Colorado Avalanche vs. Vegas Golden Knights Pick & Prediction JANUARY 10th 2024

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The first meeting between the last two Stanley Cup champions was not much of a battle. The Vegas Golden Knights, the reigning champions, skated the Colorado Avalanche out of Sin City with a 7-0 win on Nov. 4.

On Wednesday, the Avalanche seek revenge as the Knights come to Denver.

That blowout win came when Vegas was rolling, having gone 11-0-1 to open the season, but things have been tough lately. Since a four-game winning streak in early December, the Knights have lost seven of their past 10, though one of those three wins came Saturday night against the New York Islanders.

The Knights’ misfortunes can be blamed in part on their injuries. Defenseman Shea Theodore has been out since Nov. 22, and there is no certain date for his return. Forwards William Karlsson and William Carrier are also out, as is goaltender Adin Hill, who has played just 6:25 since Nov. 30.

Hill has begun practicing and could be in net Wednesday night. Defenseman Zach Whitecloud (upper-body injury) missed Saturday’s win over New York.

The injuries have provided others with opportunities, and defenseman Lukas Cormier took advantage with an assist in his NHL debut on Saturday. Defenseman Tobias Bjornfot made his Vegas debut after he was claimed off waivers from the Los Angeles Kings.

“It seems like a little thing, but he does force their kill to shift and makes a good play to get his first NHL point, so good for him,” Knights coach Bruce Cassidy said of Cormier. “Overall, I thought he played the game in front of him. He didn’t chase it, he didn’t get out of position, he’s inside the dots, things that younger guys sometimes struggle with because things can happen fast out there.”

The Avalanche have also had to plug in young players due to injuries. Forward Miles Wood has missed the past two games due to illness but could return against the Knights. Defenseman Josh Manson was out Monday against the Bruins with an undisclosed injury.

Forward Jason Polin was recalled from the AHL and made his NHL debut in Colorado’s 4-3 shootout win over Boston, while defenseman Sam Malinski stepped in for Manson and scored the second goal of his rookie season.

With Bowen Byram on injured reserve and Manson possibly missing more time, Malinski might get more opportunities. He has played 15 games with the Avalanche and has impressed his coach.

“He’s played really well when he’s been with us,” Avalanche coach Jared Bednar said. “We have a couple of (defensemen) out of the lineup now, so he’ll be here for a little bit.”

One mainstay in the lineup has been All-Star forward Nathan MacKinnon, who entered Tuesday second in the NHL in scoring with 66 points. MacKinnon had an assist Monday to extend his home point streak to 22 games to start the season. He has at least one point in 24 of the past 25 games.

If MacKinnon records a point against Vegas, he will tie Joe Sakic for the longest home point streak in franchise history.

–Field Level Media

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