Tonight was a night of firsts for several reasons as the Colorado Avalanche kicked off their preseason with a game against the Vegas Golden Knights for the first time in their franchise history. It was also the debut of several prospects in their first ever NHL preseason game including Conor Timmins and Travis Barron plus newly signed prospects to the organization in Alex Kerfoot and Dominic Toninato.
The game got off to a rocky start as Vegas scored three times by the halfway mark of the first period. Brad Hunt got on the board at 5:16 when he was left all alone at the right circle. Then the penalty parade began as Vegas scored on two consecutive 5 on 3 power plays, the first by Jonathan Marchessault at 6:09 and then Oscar Lindberg at 7:47. Vegas would end up with six power plays while the Avalanche had eight as the NHL cracked down on several of their points of emphasis on slashing and faceoff violations.
In the second period the Avalanche finally got on the board with one of their own 5 on 3 power plays at 17:01. Alex Kerfoot passed it to Erik Johnson, who took a shot and then Nathan MacKinnon batted in the rebound. It was nice to see a goal scored during the game and some contribution on special teams. Coach Bednar said postgame that the team hadn't practiced the power play much yet so it was good to see some natural puck movement from the unit and the addition of Kerfoot helped that.
MacKinnon from Johnson and Kerfoot pic.twitter.com/VAuLjwQdn6— Mile High Hockey (@MileHighHockey) September 20, 2017
In the third period, the Avalanche were faced with an uphill climb on the scoreboard and quite a deficit in shots. They were able to make some progress in by outshooting Vegas 18-4 that period to end up 29-28 for the evening. As they were pressing, the Golden Knights were able to slip in a fourth goal on a transition rush from Tomas Hyka at 15:06 and that was just about the game at that point.
Not a lot should be read into the first preseason game in which Colorado was just skating by on the bare minimum requirement for veterans dressed. All the standard caveats apply of preseason wins and losses are meaningless especially played by guys who won't make the team. A sloppy special teams dominated affair because of a bunch of ticky-tack penalties makes it even less important. Still, it's tough to shake the feeling that not enough has changed and that adding some kids, even those in tonight's contest who are a couple years away, isn't going to be enough and the organization will continue to search for answers or avoid the question entirely.
Upcoming: Colorado Avalanche host the Dallas Stars at 7pm MT on Thursday, September 21st at the Pepsi Center.