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Grubauer to start vs Rangers

January 4, 2019, 4:40 PM ET [0 Comments]
Rick Sadowski
Colorado Avalanche Blogger •Avalanche Insider • RSSArchiveCONTACT
The Avalanche open the season’s second half Friday against the New York Rangers at the Pepsi Center trying to end a losing streak that has reached six games (0-4-2).


Philipp Grubauer will start in goal and Pavel Francouz will be the backup as Semyon Varlamov continues to deal with a lower-body injury.

Grubauer allowed four goals on 14 shots Wednesday to San Jose and got the hook in favor of Francouz in a 5-4 loss. Francouz stopped 12 of 13 shots and was tagged with his second loss – both in relief of Grubauer – and owns a 1.97 goals-against average and .943 save percentage.

Grubauer, who signed a three-year, $10 million contract in June following his acquisition from Washington, is 8-4-3 with a 3.26 goals-against average and .899 save percentage.

“It’s my belief that (Grubauer) is a guy we brought in here to do the job and help us get wins and Varly’s out injured and I’d like to give him the opportunity to go win us some hockey games,” coach Jared Bednar said after the morning skate.

“He’s fighting for a starting position, and that’s what he’s here to do, no different than any of our other veteran guys we have, either up front or on the back end. Give them opportunities to play better and win us some hockey games.”

The Avalanche went 0-1-2 in the first three games of their four-game homestand and are 2-7-3 in the past 12 games. They have lost the past four games, and five of the past six, by one goal.

Staying out of the penalty box would certainly help get them out of this funk. They’ve allowed 17 goals in 56 shorthanded situations – 69.6 percent – in the past 17 games. They’re now 26th in penalty killing in the NHL at 76.7 percent after a hot start.

“It’s tough to play from behind in this league,” said Nathan MacKinnon, who is fifth in NHL scoring with 60 points (24 goals, 36 assists), two points behind linemate Mikko Rantanen, who’s second. “When we were winning, we were scoring the first goal every night and coming out strong. Unfortunately, I think we’ve taken an early penalty in every game.

“Playing losing hockey at the start of every game is deflating. We regroup after the second (period) when we usually come out strong, but we can’t wait until we’re losing to start playing hard.”

The Avalanche will make one lineup change with Sven Andrighetto replacing Gabriel Bourque on the fourth line.

The Rangers are opening a three-game road trip after getting drilled 7-2 by Pittsburgh on Wednesday. Alexandar Georgiev is expected to start after stopping six of seven shots in relief of Henrik Lundqvist.

Georgiev, 22, is the first Bulgarian-born player to play in the NHL. He moved to Russia as a child. Signed as an undrafted free agent in July 2017, he has a 5-5-0 record this season with a 3.22 goals-against average and .898 save percentage.

The lineup:

Gabriel Landeskog -- Nathan MacKinnon -- Mikko Rantanen
Tyson Jost -- Alexander Kerfoot -- J.T. Compher
Matt Nieto -- Carl Soderberg -- Matt Calvert
Sven Andrighetto – Sheldon Dries -- Logan O’Connor

Samuel Girard -- Erik Johnson
Ian Cole -- Tyson Barrie
Ryan Graves -- Patrik Nemeth

Philipp Grubauer
Pavel Francouz

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