Game 1 Projected Lineup: Avalanche vs. Blues

Game 1 Projected Lineup: Avalanche vs. Blues thumbnail

The Colorado Avalanche begins its 36th playoff series since the franchise moved to Denver tonight as the club takes on the St. Louis Blues in Game 1 of the First Round of the 2021 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Ball Arena.

Head coach Jared Bednar did not give exact details on what his lineup will look like for the first outing of the best-of-seven series, but forwards Nathan MacKinnon and Brandon Saad are expected to return to the lineup.

MacKinnon missed four of the final five games of the regular season with minor lower-body injuries. He had a point in 14 consecutive games in the 2020 postseason and is averaging 1.35 points per game with 54 (20 goals, 34 assists) in 40 career contests in the playoffs, the fourth-highest total among players to appear in at least 15 postseason outings. He trails only Wayne Gretzky (1.84), Mario Lemieux (1.61) and Barry Pederson (1.53).

“I want to play every game. Obviously [needed to] take care of some little things,” MacKinnon said on Sunday of sitting out the four contests he missed at the end of the campign. “It wasn’t anything major, I just wanted to be healthy come Game 1. Got some rest and some good treatment, and I’m feeling good.”

Saad, a two-time Stanley Cup champion (2013 and 2015) with the Chicago Blackhawks, last played on April 24 in St. Louis, missing the final 11 contests with a lower-body injury. He leads all players on the Avalanche roster with 81 games of playoff experience.

Rookie defenseman Conor Timmins will also be in the lineup after he missed the third period of the Avs’ final outing of the year on Thursday. He collected two assists in the contest and made a total of 31 appearances for Colorado in the campaign, notching seven helpers which included three in the final three matchups of the season.

Goaltender Philipp Grubauer will be in the crease at puck drop and backed up by Jonas Johansson. Grubauer appeared in a career-high 40 games (39 starts), fifth in the NHL, and finished the regular season tied for the league lead in shutouts (seven), second in wins (30) and was third in goals-against average (1.95), all career bests.

It is just the second time the Avalanche and Blues have met in the postseason, as Colorado defeated St. Louis in five games during the 2001 Western Conference Final. They also met in one round-robin game during the 2020 Stanley Cup Playoffs qualifiers, as Nazem Kadri scored with 0.1 seconds left in regulation to give the Avs a 2-1 victory last August.

The Avs finished 5-3-0 against the Blues during the 2020-21 regular season, 3-1-0 at home.

Below is the Avalanche’s projected lineup based on the forward combinations and defensive pairings from Sunday’s practice. They are subject to change.


92 Gabriel Landeskog – 29 Nathan MacKinnon – 96 Mikko Rantanen

95 Andre Burakovsky – 91 Nazem Kadri – 72 Joonas Donskoi

20 Brandon Saad – 17 Tyson Jost – 13 Valeri Nichushkin

18 Alex Newhook – 41 Pierre-Edouard Bellemare – 37 J.T. Compher


7 Devon Toews – 8 Cale Makar

27 Ryan Graves – 49 Samuel Girard

24 Patrik Nemeth – 22 Conor Timmins


31 Philipp Grubauer

35 Jonas Johansson

Scratches: Dennis Gilbert, Liam O’Brien, Jacob MacDonald, Jayson Megna, Dan Renouf, Kiefer Sherwood, Carl Soderberg

Injury Report: Bowen Byram (upper body), Matt Calvert (upper body), Devan Dubnyk (returning from COVID protocol), Pavel Francouz (lower body), Erik Johnson (upper body), Logan O’Connor (lower body)

The St. Louis Blues will be have Vladimir Tarasenko back in their lineup for Game 1 but will be without David Perron. Tarasenko missed eight of the last nine games of the regular season with a lower-body injury and last played on May 3. In total, the forward appeared in 24 outings and recorded 14 points (four goals, 10 assists).

Perron, who led the team this year with 58 points (19 goals, 39 assists) has been in the league’s COVID protocol since Saturday afternoon.

Head coach Craig Berube said that defenseman Marco Scandella will play in Game 1 after not participating in the team’s morning practice while Vince Dunn, who last played on April 24, will not dress for the game.

Jordan Binnington is expected to be between the pipes for the Blues. He went 18-14-8 in 2020-21, including a 3-4-0 with a .909 save percentage and 2.89 goals-against average in seven outings against Colorado.

Below is St. Louis’ projected lineup for Game 1, courtesy of


17 Jaden Schwartz – 90 Ryan O’Reilly – 10 Brayden Schenn

49 Ivan Barbashev – 21 Tyler Bozak – 91 Vladimir Tarasenko

68 Mike Hoffman – 18 Robert Thomas – 25 Jordan Kyrou

13 Kyle Clifford – 12 Zach Sanford – 9 Sammy Blais


47 Torey Krug – 72 Justin Faulk

6 Marco Scandella – 55 Colton Parayko

77 Niko Mikkola – 41 Robert Bortuzzo


50 Jordan Binnington

35 Ville Husso

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