Well for as fast as the preseason came upon us, it departed us just as fast. But its conclusion can only mean one thing: It is opening week in the NHL! So, just like last week, it’s time to recap the final week of preseason and look ahead to the first week of Avalanche hockey.
DAL 3-1 COL
Me oh my, how things can turn in a blink of an eye. The Avalanche started the game red-hot and looked dominant early. It was 20-year-old Ty Lewis who put the Avs on the board early, netting a power play goal with seven minutes remaining in the first period. The red-hot look Avalanche fizzled out quickly after as the defense fell apart leaving Avs goaltender Semyon Varlamov stranded. Colorado was able to take a 1-1 game into the third but the same defensive wounds that were exposed for the first goal were reopened as the Stars took a 2-1 and then a 3-1 lead in the third. Varly saved 24 of the 27 shots he faced.
MIN 3-4 COL
The Avalanche got back to their winning ways with an exciting (albeit anticlimactic) overtime game-winner by right winger Mikko Rantanen. Although preseason, this game carried a little more weight as the Avs played many of their top lines, including the treasured Gabriel Landeskog—Nathan MacKinnon—Rantanen line. Philipp Grubauer got the start for the Avalanche, while ex Avs Andrew Hammond got the start for Minnesota. Colorado entered the final half of the third period with a 3-1 lead, by a Matt Calvert goal, but Minnesota tied the game via a shorthanded goal by Jason Zucker with just 1:02 remaining in the third.
COL 6-5 DAL
This game was nothing short of a pure barnburner. The first period opened up with three goals within the first 6:15 that saw the Avalanche take a 2-1 lead. The Avalanche never surrendered the lead and managed to hold on in a game that would make most goalie coaches scream. Landeskog got himself two goals while Calvert and Tyson Jost added two apples to their own mame.
The Week Ahead
Opening Week means regular season hockey. Which means the Avalanche 23-man roster has also been finalized. Prospects Logan O’Connor, Martin Kaut and David Warsofsky will make their appearance with the AHL affiliate Colorado Eagles. Right winger Sven Andrighetto will start the season on IR and Mark Alt officially will be available for opening night.
Opening Night will also be a major event for the Avalanche as they host division rival Minnesota Wild on Thursday. Last season the Avs went 3-0-1 against the Wild, racking up 21 goals and only allowing 7. The game is a critical four-point division game, so stakes are high right off the gate. Do not be surprised to see Philipp Grubauer get the nod in net over Semyon Varlamov.
Finally, the Avalanche will be hosts to an inter-conference match against the terrifying mascot Gritty and the Philadelphia Flyers, Saturday. Since the teams only play each other twice a year, expect both teams to feel each other out and get used to their varying play styles early.
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