Despite playing 4 contests already this September, the Avalanche still sit at 0 points on the 2014-2015 season. After dropping their second game to the Montreal Canadiens (this time on neutral Quebecois ice) the Avalanche return home and hope to stop their season from skidding out of control. A loss tonight would guarantee the Avalanche a losing record in the preseason for just the 7th time in the last 8 years. Mama said there'd be regression like this.
Somehow none of the 20 Avalanche players who took part in Friday night's shellacking have been cut from the team, but we can likely expect some cuts from the 38 man roster in the near future. Coach Patrick Roy will probably use tonight's game to evaluate younger players who did not make the trip to Quebec (Duncan Siemens, Joey Hishon, and Samuel Henley to name a few). We'll update this preview with an Avalanche lineup when it becomes available, but based on the rest of the preseason we can likely expect a veteran-heavy roster with 6-8 Monsters players mixed throughout the lineup.
If we take a look across the ice at our heavily favored opponents (2-3 in the preseason), Avs fans will see a lot of new faces. According to Flames play by play announcer Derek Wills, the Avs will be facing off against these guys tonight:
Not a stellar lineup from the Calgary squad... but Johnny Hockey did this already in preseason, so that's pretty cool:
Here's a look at the Avalanche lineup for tonight.
<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"><p>Lineups for tonight's <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Avalanche?src=hash">#Avalanche</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Flames?src=hash">#Flames</a> game <a href="http://t.co/5uxWLFEoLu">pic.twitter.com/5uxWLFEoLu</a></p>— Drew Spevak (@DrewSpevak) <a href="https://twitter.com/DrewSpevak/status/516264014343860224">September 28, 2014</a></blockquote>
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If I have to venture a guess... the lines will look something like:
Ryan O`Reilly - Matt Duchene - Jarome Iginla
Gabriel Landeskog - Nathan MacKinnon - Alex Tanguay
Andrew Agozzino - Joey Hishon - Borna Rendulic
Michael Schumacher - Samuel Henley - Daniel Maggio
Brad Stuart - Erik Johnson
Jan Hejda - Tyson Barrie
Nick Holden - Stefan Elliott
There are a few curious decisions in here, first and foremost being the absence of Duncan Siemens in yet another preseason game. If the Avalanche want this guy to be an effective call up I think he needs to get some ice time in the preseason. Also surprising is that Daniel Maggio is not only still with the team, but will take ice time away from Dennis Everberg, who's had a very intriguing preseason. A few other roster notes:
- Dont be surprised if Samuel Henley jumps up to the third line and bumps Joey Hishon back to the wing.
- Borna Rendulic has had a lot of ice time in the preseason. Hard to tell what the motivation is exactly from Roy and the coaching staff, development or preparation. Just how close does the Avs' coaching staff think he is?
- Stefan Elliott is getting yet another last chance sort of game. Lets see if his game improves away from Ryan Wilson, who struggled mightily in Quebec.
- Roy swapped Iginla and Tanguay a few times last game, he'll likely continue to juggle some of the top six tonight looking for chemistry.
- John Mitchell and Jamie McGinn are still not on this roster, so don't expect to see them on opening night.
Puck Drops at 8:00 PM EST