2020 Stadium Series

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Avalanche injuries: Grubauer out with lower-body injury; Calvert to miss ‘weeks’

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After being injured in the 2020 Stadium Series game on Saturday, Colorado Avalanche goalie Philipp Grubauer will not be in the lineup on Monday night against the Tampa Bay Lightning due to a lower-body injury.

Even more concerning for the Avalanche, there is no current timetable for his return.

“I don’t really have a timeline on it,” said Avalanche coach Jared Bednar on Monday, via NHL.com. “He’s still getting evaluated, he’s still going through some testing or training room or whatnot. I’ll have a better answer probably later in the week. Right now he’s day to day and could miss some time.”

Grubauer is 18-12-4 this season for the Avalanche with a .916 save percentage.

He was injured on Saturday during a collision with teammate Ian Cole.

You can see the play here.

Pavel Francouz, who has been outstanding this season, will take over the main goaltending duties for as long as Grubauer is sidelined.

Hunter Miska will serve as the backup.

Even if Grubauer only misses time this week that could still be as many as four games. The Avalanche’s standing as a playoff team is secure, but they are still in a fight for the top spot in the Central Division as well as home-ice advantage throughout the Western Conference playoffs. It doesn’t seem to be serious enough at this point to force a trade to add some depth, but it’s still an injury worth watching. The Avalanche should still be in good hands with Francouz as their starter in the short-term, but things could get a little complicated when it comes to potential playoff seeding if it is an injury that lingers.

In other Avalanche injury news, forward Matt Calvert is also expected to be sidelined for a couple of weeks with a lower-body injury of his own.

In 50 games this season Calvert has 12 goals and 25 total points. He played 12:47 of the Stadium Series game on Saturday.

Adam Gretz is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @AGretz.

Toffoli, Quick lead Kings to upset vs. Avs, who lost Grubauer to injury

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Much was made of the teams not being used to the altitude at the 2020 Stadium Series. The 2019-20 Kings haven’t exactly been used to winning, and certainly not building winning streaks, yet that’s what they did on Saturday. Not only did the Avs lose, they also lost Philipp Grubauer to injury.

Tyler Toffoli scored all three of the Kings’ goals to complete the first hat trick during an outdoor game. Jonathan Quick might have been the bigger star, though, as helped the Kings beat the Avalanche 3-1 by making 33 saves.

Here are all three goals:

The Avs weren’t guilty of a poor effort in this one, really, but it was pretty much a disaster. Here’s why.

Avs lose game and Grubauer

Ian Cole bumped his own goalie Philipp Grubauer during an unfortunate sequence for the Avs. At first, it was tough to tell if Grubauer was hurt on the play, or just making a save. While he did get the stop, things clearly weren’t right for Grubauer:

If Grubauer misses time, that’s a substantial issue for the Avs. Much like last season, Grubauer had been heating up lately. The German-born goalie carried a .939 February save percentage (4-2-0 in six games) into Saturday, and his save percentage hadn’t dipped below .910 in any month since December.

On the bright side, Pavel Francouz gets another chance to prove himself.

Francouz quietly put together a strong 13-4-2 record and .925 save percentage in 21 games this season, just 23 contests into his NHL career. While that serves as a small sample size, Francouz put up great numbers at other levels. For all the Avs know, he might represent an almost-as-good (maybe better?) option than Grubauer.

(Goalies: they’re unpredictable.)

The Avalanche lost a chance to move into a lead in the Central, and thus the Western Conference. Instead, they fell in regulation, and slipped to third in a tightly packed top of division:

1. Blues: 74 points in 58 games played (32-16-10)
2. Stars: 73 in 58 GP (34-19-5)
3. Avs: 72 in 57 GP (33-18-6).

Ouch. If Avalanche (or Stars … or Blues) fans want an opportunity to grumble about the playoff setup now, that seems fair. (As of this writing, no Pacific Division team is in 70-point range.)

Either way, the Avalanche will be leaving Falcon Stadium grumbling on Saturday.

Kings, Quick showing potential as spoilers

For much of this season, the Kings have been better than their record indicated. That doesn’t mean they’re a juggernaut in waiting, but it attaches a flashing sign to their potential as spoilers.

Los Angeles made that potential more obvious during the past two games. First, they dealt a painful blow to the Flames, beating them 5-3. Now they’ve managed a rare winning streak by following that up with Saturday’s win. Beating two playoff-positioned teams, including a potential contender in Colorado, makes it that much more impressive.

This had to be an especially big relief for Quick. The two-time Stanley Cup winner got his first win since Dec. 31. It’s been a disastrous couple of seasons for the veteran, but a turnaround could improve the timeline of the Kings’ rebuild.

James O’Brien is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @cyclelikesedins.

Hurricanes to host their first outdoor game for 2021 Stadium Series

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Are you ready to watch a bunch of jerks … outdoors? The Carolina Hurricanes will host their first outdoor game during the 2021 Stadium Series on Feb. 20, 2021. The venue will be Carter-Finley Stadium in Raleigh, N.C., home of the NC State Wolfpack’s football team.

The league has not yet announced the Hurricanes’ opponent for that game. Who do you think would be a good fit?

That Hurricanes-hosted game will serve as the 12th installment of the Stadium Series, and 32nd NHL regular-season outdoor game overall.

Carter-Finley Stadium hosted its first college football game in 1966. Will Halpern of Stadium Journey shared in-depth details about the venue, including this incredible bit about NC State’s mascots:

” … the Wolfpack have a cheerleading squad, as well as not one but two mascots, Mr. and Mrs. Wuff, who are actually married and have been for nearly four decades – the mascots were wed by Wake Forest University’s own Demon Deacon back in 1981 at halftime of a basketball game at Reynolds Coliseum.”

2021 Stadium Series Wuffs
Pictured: The Wuffs (Photo by Michael Berg/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Before reading that, I was merely going to demand the presence of Philip Rivers at the 2021 Stadium Series. Now I demand not just Rivers, but also Mr. and Mrs. Wuff. (I guess Rivers is optional, really.)

James O’Brien is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @cyclelikesedins.

WATCH LIVE: 2020 NHL Stadium Series – Avalanche vs. Kings

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NBC’s coverage of the 2019-20 NHL season continues with Saturday’s Stadium Series matchup between the Colorado Avalanche and Los Angeles Kings from Falcon Stadium at the U.S. Air Force Academy. Coverage begins at 8 p.m. ET on NBC. You can watch the game online and on the NBC Sports app by clicking here.

This is the third and final outdoor game of the 2019-20 NHL season. This season’s outdoor slate started with the Jets’ 2-1 (OT) win over the Flames in the Heritage Classic at Mosaic Stadium in Regina, Saskatchewan on Oct. 26. The Stars topped the Predators 4-2 in the Winter Classic at the Cotton Bowl on New Year’s Day. Saturday’s game will mark the 30th NHL regular-season outdoor game overall.

The Avalanche have made the playoffs in each of the last two seasons and came into this campaign as a contender in the Western Conference. After losing in Game 7 of the second round to SJ last season, the Avs are hoping they can take another step forward as they appear on their way to a third playoff appearance in 4 seasons under Jared Bednar. Colorado’s star-studded top line of Nathan MacKinnon, Gabriel Landeskog and Mikko Rantanen have led one of the top offenses in the NHL this season, but will it be enough to reach the Western Conference Final for the first time since the 2001-02 season?

The Kings have struggled in their first season under Todd McLellan. After finishing with the fewest points in the Western Conference last season, Los Angeles sits in the same spot at this point in the 2019-20 season. Still led by Anze Kopitar and other veterans that helped LA to its first two Stanley Cup titles last decade, the Kings are in a rebuild as they hope to see signs of improvement from their younger players in the home stretch of the season.

This is the second NHL outdoor game at a U.S. Service Academy. In March 2018, the Capitals defeated the Maple Leafs 5-2 at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium in Annapolis, MD. Three current Avs were part of that game: Andre Burakovsky and Philipp Grubauer on Washington and Nazem Kadri on Toronto.

[WATCH LIVE – COVERAGE BEGINS AT 8 P.M. ET – NBC]

What: Los Angeles Kings vs. Colorado Avalanche
Where: Falcon Stadium at the U.S. Air Force Academy
When: Saturday, Feb. 15, 8 p.m. ET
TV: NBC
Live stream: You can watch the Kings-Avalanche stream on NBC Sports’ live stream page and the NBC Sports app.

PROJECTED LINEUPS

KINGS
Alex Iafallo – Anze Kopitar – Tyler Toffoli
Adrian KempeJeff CarterMartin Frk
Trevor MooreBlake LizotteDustin Brown
Austin Wagner – Mike Amadio – Trevor Lewis

Derek ForbortDrew Doughty
Alec MartinezSean Walker
Kurtis MacDermidMatt Roy

Starting goalie: Jonathan Quick

AVALANCHE
Andre Burakovsky – Nathan MacKinnon – Mikko Rantanen
Gabriel Landeskog – J.T. CompherJoonas Donskoi
Matt CalvertPierre-Edouard BellemareValeri Nichushkin
Matt NietoTyson JostVladislav Kamenev

Ryan GravesCale Makar
Samuel GirardErik Johnson
Ian ColeNikita Zadorov

Starting goalie: Philipp Grubauer

MORE STADIUM SERIES:
Improved depth makes Avalanche Stanley Cup contender
L.A. Kings approach key stages of rebuild
Luc Robitaille Q&A

Kenny Albert, Eddie Olczyk, and Brian Boucher will call the matchup. On-site studio coverage at Air Force Academy will feature Kathryn Tappen hosting alongside analyst Patrick Sharp and reporter Rutledge Wood.

Avalanche vs. Kings: 2020 NHL Stadium Series by the numbers

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NBC’s coverage of the 2019-20 NHL season continues with Saturday’s Stadium Series matchup between the Colorado Avalanche and Los Angeles Kings from Falcon Stadium at the U.S. Air Force Academy. Coverage begins at 8 p.m. ET on NBC. You can watch the game online and on the NBC Sports app by clicking here.

1 – Number of outdoor game appearances for the Avalanche. They took part in the 2016 NHL Stadium Series at Coors Field in Denver, losing to the Red Wings 5-3. Game-time temperature that night was 65 degrees F, the warmest ever for an NHL outdoor regular season game.

2 – The 2020 Stadium Series will be the second outdoor game held at a service academy. In March 2018, the Capitals defeated the Maple Leafs 5-2 at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium in Annapolis, MD. Three current Avs were part of that game: Andre Burakovsky and Philipp Grubauer on Washington and Nazem Kadri on Toronto.

3 – This will be the third outdoor game for the Kings. They previously participated in the 2014 Stadium Series at Dodger Stadium, which saw them lose to the Ducks 3-0. They also took part in the 2015 Stadium Series at Levi’s Stadium against a Sharks and won 2-1.

3 – In each of the past three seasons a team participating in an NHL regular-season outdoor game has advanced to the Stanley Cup Final later that season.

3 – This is the third and final outdoor game of the 2019-20 NHL season. This season’s outdoor slate started with the Jets’ 2-1 (OT) win over the Flames in the Heritage Classic at Mosaic Stadium in Regina, Saskatchewan on Oct. 26. The Stars topped the Predators 4-2 in the Winter Classic at the Cotton Bowl on New Year’s Day. Saturday’s game will mark the 30th NHL regular-season outdoor game overall.

4 – Total number of penalty shots in NHL outdoor games. Anze Kopitar had an unsuccessful attempt during the 2014 Stadium Series against Jonas Hiller of the Ducks.

4 – Number of head coaches in the history of the Air Force hockey program. Current coach Frank Serratore has been in the position since the 1997-98 season and is the longest tenured coach in the program’s history.

7 – Four F35 Lightening II jets and three F-16 Fighting Falcon jets will take part in pre-game celebrations of the armed forces.

7 – Most goals by one team in an NHL outdoor game, set by the Rangers during the 2015 Stadium Series vs. the Devils at Yankee Stadium.

7 – Of the previous 29 NHL outdoor games, seven have gone past regulations. Two have needed a shootout to decide a winner.

[WATCH LIVE – COVERAGE BEGINS AT 8 P.M. ET – NBC]

8 – Members of the eight gold-medal U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Sled hockey teams spanning 60 years will be taking part in a special salute to the national governing body during the second intermission. Bill Cleary (1960 Men’s), Guy Gosselin (2018 Paralympic Sled), Nicole Hensley (2018 Women’s), Taylor Lipsett (2010 & 2014 Paralympic Sled), A.J. Mleczko Griswold  (1998 Women’s), Buzz Schneider (1980 Men’s), Kip St. Germaine (2002 Paralympic Sled) and Andy Yohe (2010 Paralympic Sled) will be joined by more than 30 local youth hockey players for the tribute, followed by a performance of “America the Beautiful” by USAFA’s “In the Stairwell.”

16 – Win by road teams all-time in outdoor games (16-9-4). Though, the last three outdoor games have been won by the home team.

18 – Players on the Avalanche (10) and Kings (8) who have played in at least one NHL outdoor game.

19 – The game will be the 19th to take place at a football stadium.

27 – Number of men’s and women’s Division I NCAA teams at Air Force (17 men’s / 10 women’s).

30 – The 2020 NHL Stadium Series between the Avalanche and Kings will mark the league’s 30th regular-season outdoor game: 12 Winter Classics, 11 Stadium Series, five Heritage Classics, one Centennial Classic and one NHL100 Classic.

811 – A total of 811 players and head coaches have participated in the NHL’s 29 regular-season outdoor games to date.

1,000 – Number of cadets that will be inside Falcon Stadium, with 846 of them seated in chairs on the field, making this the first-ever NHL outdoor game to have spectators on the field.

1958 – Year that Air Force’s hockey program began as a club team, four years after the Academy opened. Hall of Fame coach Vic Heyliger came to the Academy in 1966 and guided the program through its infancy, including their first varsity season in 1968-69.

6,621 – Number of feet above sea level the game at Falcon Stadium will take place, a record for an NHL regular-season outdoor game. The number tops the 5,200-foot elevation of Coors Field in Denver, host of the 2016 Stadium Series.

20,000 – Gallons of water needed to create a two-inch ice surface at Falcon Stadium.

46,692 – Total seating capacity of Falcon Stadium.

MORE STADIUM SERIES:
Improved depth makes Avalanche Stanley Cup contender
L.A. Kings approach key stages of rebuild

Kenny Albert, Eddie Olczyk, and Brian Boucher will call the matchup. On-site studio coverage at Air Force Academy will feature Kathryn Tappen hosting alongside analyst Patrick Sharp and reporter Rutledge Wood.