The Vegas Golden Knights are at the top of the West Division for three weeks until the end of the regular season. Just don’t expect coach Pete DeBoer to relax.
The avalanche is within striking distance.
“I expect they’ll be great tonight,” DeBoer said ahead of Wednesday’s Avs Knights game. “Her large cast in particular had a night off in St. Louis. … In my story with players like (Nathan) MacKinnon, they usually yell back when they have a night off. “
The Avalanche, with 10 games remaining in the regular season, is just behind Vegas in the West Points race – 70 to 66. However, Colorado has an extra game up its sleeve after weathering a five-day coronavirus shutdown.
“Of course we are aware of the overall standings,” said Avs striker Carl Soderberg. “We look at it after every game. I think all players do. “
There is little room for avalanche errors should the team regain their place in the west and secure home advantage during the playoffs. But there are reasons for optimism.
Colorado’s regular season ends after Wednesday evening with four sets against the San Jose Sharks and Los Angeles Kings – both non-playoff teams – as well as another game in Vegas (May 10). The Knights’ path forward is more difficult with seven of their last eight games against playoff-tied opponents.
“There is still a runway here, even if we lost (Wednesday),” said Avs coach Jared Bednar. “But our team is focused on doing everything possible to check these guys hard. Frustrate them and get two points. “
Byram update. Avalanche defender Bo Byram has not played a game since the end of March. The 19-year-old rookie entered the concussion log after a questionable but unpunished hit from Knights striker Keegan Kolesar. Byram also spent time on the COVID log’s absentee list.
Bednar told reporters that Byram had suffered a health setback and confirmed on Wednesday that it had nothing to do with coronavirus. Byram’s schedule for returning with the Avalanche remains uncertain. He has two assists over 19 games this season.
“He will certainly have to play a few games with the (AHL) Eagles to be up to date,” said Bednar. “Then we’ll just see how he’s doing and rate him to see if he can come in and help us or not.”
Line break. Avalanche striker Nazem Kadri replaced Tyson Jost on Wednesday as the team’s second division. Jost joined the winger alongside Valeri Nichushkin. The move brings Carl Soderberg back to Colorado’s third line.
“I have to match (Kadri) with some people who can help him produce because we need that line in order to score a few goals for us,” said Bednar. “I think that should be our top three strikers outside of our first line (Wednesday). So we’ll play them together and see what we can achieve. “