On Thursday night, the Avalanche pulled a complete 180 from their opening exhibition against the Vegas Golden Knights, bringing home a solid 5-1 win at the Pepsi Center.
The first period opened with a bang, with the Avalanche finding the back of the net on their first three shots of the game.
David Warofsky opened the scoring at 2:11 from the high slot, followed by a powerplay goal from Sven Andrighetto two minutes later. Sergei Boikov pumped in the third goal of the game just one minute after Andrighetto’s tally.
Despite the hot start, the Avalanche were dealt a heavy blow when Sergei Boikov was driven into the end boards by Dallas’ Remi Elie just twenty seconds after his goal. Duncan Siemens, a late addition to tonight’s Avalanche lineup, dropped the gloves with Elie and took preseason justice into his own hands.
The hit and Siemens beating the crap out of some dude pic.twitter.com/OUMzWcBDjA— The Mars Volchenkov (@TMVHF) September 22, 2017
Boikov left the game with a right shoulder injury and did not return.
With the Avs already thin on defense, this certainly won’t help the team’s current condition, although an official injury report and timetable will give the team a better idea of what they’re dealing with.
The second period saw the Avalanche strike again with an Alexander Kerfoot powerplay goal from Warsofsky and Yakupov.
A few minutes later, Gabriel Landeskog earned a penalty shot with a quick burst of speed on the outside, but failed to slip his Forsbergian attempt past the outstretched left pad of Kari Lehtonen. Duncan Siemens and A.J. Greer maintained good physical control throughout an otherwise quiet rest of the second period.
Matt Duchene reminded everybody that he is quite good at hockey and would like to be traded, please, with a nice goal off a fantastic Yakupov feed early in the third. Dallas responded with their lone goal of the game midway through the final frame, a powerplay goal from Roope Hintz, but the Avalanche were able to coast to an easy 5-1 win through a fairly uneventful final period.
- A lot of the early focus going into tonight’s game was on the top line combination of Kerfoot-Duchene-Yakupov, and they impressed all game. Yak looked especially lethal, consistently making plays and setting up his teammates for three assists on the night. Let’s hope this is a sign of things to come for the regular season.
- The Avalanche offense looked good most of the night, but take that with a grain of salt. Colorado iced a stronger lineup than Dallas, and it showed early in the first period with the Stars struggling to rotate defensively and Kari Lehtonen struggling to settle into the game, making his first save almost nine minutes into the game already down 3-0.
- A.J. Greer spent a good chunk of the night in the faces of the opposition, consistently mixing it up with the Stars between whistles. If he’s going to make this team, it’ll be to bring some of that Don Cherry grit to the club. Similarly, Duncan Siemens brought a solid physical effort to the rink tonight.
- Jared Bednar talked postgame about the increased focus on slashing and the need to keep sticks down. It’s a tough habit to break when referees have previously been lenient on sticks to the hands, but Bednar mentioned that if his players can’t use their legs defensively, he’ll sit them. The Avs took five penalties for stick infractions tonight, including three for slashing. Oh, and Dallas received a faceoff violation penalty for good measure. Refs are taking that whole “emphasis on slashing” thing to heart.
- Yeah, yeah, we know that preseason games aren’t super meaningful in the grand scheme of things, but this one felt good from start to finish.
The Avs head up to Minnesota on Saturday for their next
very important preseason clash against the Wild at 4:00.