NBCSN’s coverage of the 2019-20 NHL season continues with the Wednesday Night Hockey matchup between the Buffalo Sabres and Colorado Avalanche. Coverage begins at 7 p.m. ET on NBCSN. You can watch the game online and on the NBC Sports app by clicking here.
With just more than a quarter of the regular season to go for Colorado, the Avalanche sit in a divisional playoff spot as they vie with St. Louis, Dallas and Vegas for the top seed in the Western Conference. The Avs have won three straight and are one of the hottest teams over the last month and half, having gone 11-3-1.
Though the defending champion Blues are on top of the West, both the Avs and Stars are right on St. Louis’ heels. For the second straight season, it appears the Central will come down to the wire (last season, the top three teams – Nashville, Winnipeg, St. Louis – finished the season separated by just one point).
Philipp Grubauer left the outdoor game at Air Force against LA on Feb. 15 with a lower-body injury and has not played since. 29-year-old Pavel Francouz, who made his first NHL start earlier this season, has started all 4 games since Grubauer has been out and allowed just 6 goals (3- 0-1 record, 1.46 GAA, .941 SV%). On the season, Francouz is 16-5-3 with a 2.27 GAA.
The Sabres enter this game having won two straight and five of their last six games. Although they sit in sixth in the Atlantic, this run has managed to close the playoff gap between them and Toronto (third in Atlantic) and Florida (fourth) over the past two weeks, with each of those clubs struggling (Buffalo eight points back of Toronto).
At the beginning of the month it seemed the Sabres would be sellers at the trade deadline and looked to be headed towards another offseason without a playoff appearance. A strong two-week stretch has shifted things a bit as Buffalo is within reach of a playoff spot and did not approach Monday’s deadline as a sell-off.
[COVERAGE BEGINS AT 7 P.M. ET ON NBCSN]
WHAT: Buffalo Sabres at Colorado Avalanche
WHERE: Pepsi Center
WHEN: Wednesday, Feb. 26, 7 p.m. ET
LIVE STREAM: You can watch the Sabres-Avalanche stream on NBC Sports’ live stream page and the NBC Sports app.
Victor Olofsson – Jack Eichel – Sam Reinhart
Jeff Skinner – Marcus Johansson – Wayne Simmonds
Jimmy Vesey – Curtis Lazar – Michael Frolik
Zemgus Girgensons – Johan Larsson – Kyle Okposo
Brandon Montour – Rasmus Ristolainen
Jake McCabe – Henri Jokiharju
Rasmus Dahlin – Colin Miller
Starting goalie: Carter Hutton
Gabriel Landeskog – Nathan MacKinnon – Valeri Nichushkin
Tyson Jost – J.T. Compher – Joonas Donskoi
Vladislav Namestnikov – Pierre-Edouard Bellemare – Martin Kaut
Mark Barberio – Vladislav Kamenev – Logan O’Connor
Ryan Graves – Cale Makar
Samuel Girard – Erik Johnson
Ian Cole – Nikita Zadorov
Starting goalie: Pavel Francouz
Kathryn Tappen will host Wednesday’s coverage on NHL Live alongside analysts Keith Jones and Patrick Sharp and NHL insider Bob McKenzie. John Forslund, Eddie Olczyk and Brian Boucher will have the call from Pepsi Center in Denver, Colo.