The Avalanche return to Ball Arena on Thursday for the first of a two-game homestand. They take on the San Jose Sharks, who are closing out a back-to-back after falling 5-2 to the Arizona Coyotes at Gila River Arena on Wednesday.

Listen to “Statement Victory in Calgary” on Spreaker.

1 — Nathan MacKinnon returns

Just 48 hours after coach Jared Bednar said the concern level for MacKinnon’s upper-body injury was “high,” the superstar center is set to return to the lineup after missing just one game.

MacKinnon was injured after fighting Minnesota’s Matt Dumba on Sunday and underwent x-rays before the injury in the hand area was determined to be not as severe as initially expected.

Nicolas Aube-Kubel will be a healthy scratch to make room for MacKinnon to re-join the lineup.

2 — Andrew Cogliano takes on former Sharks teammates

He’d only been there for a few months, but Cogliano is set to take on his former team, who traded him to the Avs just 10 days ago. Bednar complimented Cogliano for his on-ice and off-ice work ethic after morning skate. Cogliano has spent time on the fourth line since joining Colorado, playing alongside fellow veteran forward Darren Helm.

3 — Pavel Francouz starts

Bednar announced that Francouz will start against the Sharks. Francouz hasn’t played since the Avs’ last home game last Friday against the Philadelphia Flyers. He made 28 saves to improve to 12-3-1 on the season.

Aarif Deen is our Colorado Avalanche beat reporter. He covers Avs games live from Ball Arena and attends practices, media availabilities and other events pertaining to the Avs on the daily beat. He is also a co-host of Hockey Mountain High: Your go-to Avalanche Podcast. Deen joined Mile High Sports upon completion of his bachelor’s degree in journalism and master’s in business administration from the University of Michigan – Dearborn. Before Mile High Sports, Deen worked for the Michigan Wolverines Athletics Department as the assistant sports information director.
Follow him on Twitter @runwriteAarif

Listen to “Statement Victory in Calgary” on Spreaker.