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Game Day Preview: Avalanche Back at Home vs Minnesota

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The second half of the back to back is at the Pepsi Center tonight.

Anaheim Ducks v Colorado Avalanche Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images

The Avalanche (1-2-0) see a familiar face when they take on the Minnesota Wild (3-0-0) again tonight in their second game of the back to back.

The Avs fell 2-1 last night in Minnesota when they weren’t able to figure out Dubnyk who stopped 28 of 29 shots. Eerily similar to their first preseason game, the Avalanche had 8 powerplay opportunities with many of them being 5 on 3 and squandered the advantage with 0 goals.

One thing to note is most of the Avalanche roster last night was filled with Rampage starters and many of the notable Avalanche stars were left at home. More than likely we’ll see the reverse order of both teams tonight with the Avs fielding a heavier NHL roster and Minny bringing their B squad.

Avalanche Preview

At the time of this writing, we do not have the rosters for either team but there are indications certain players with play tonight.

Since Bernier played yesterday in Minnesota, we should expect Varlamov to tend the crease tonight. He played spectacularly well on Thursday given that was his first NHL game since his groin injury that put him out for 8 months.

Also expected to dress tonight is the long-awaited preseason debut of Tyson Barrie. Barrie will be heavily relied on this year as the seasoned veteran manning the blue line. With so many incoming defencemen, he will need to step into a leadership role, something he’s been reprimanded for earlier in his career. Sounds like Coach Bednar likes the pairing of Big Z and Johnson so it will be interesting to see who Barrie will play with come opening night.

Coach Bednar also noted that he will play every available player at least once this week, so we can expect some big names in tonight’s game. Wouldn’t be surprised to see Mack dress as he’s been scratched since their first preseason game vs Vegas.

Update: the team has given lineup information for the game:

Wild Preview

Minnesota brought out a lot of their star players last night in Staal, Koivu, Granlund, Suter and Dumba. None of those guys will dress tonight in Colorado.

Who we will see is a guy that’s been in many discussions to have a breakout season. And that is Joel Eriksson Ek. A big centerman who plays a fast two-way game and knows how to put the puck in the net. He got a brief glimpse of NHL action last year, scoring 3 goals, 7 points in 15 games. He looks to carve out a much bigger role this year in Minnesota.

Kyle Quincey makes a return to Colorado wearing yet another teams sweater. This will be his 5th team (6th if you count the initial trade to TB though he never stepped on the ice) since leaving Colorado on bad note. Remember, in an interview with Nick Cotsonika of Yahoo, Quincey said this after leaving town,

“Everyone is ready to get shipped out any day. There’s a lot of guys, their bags are packed beside the door, and they wouldn’t be unhappy to go—trust me. I know I had a big smile on my face, and all the guys were jealous. I think there’s a bunch of guys that were pissed off they weren’t in a package deal.

I don’t anticipate a very warm welcome for Quicney tonight. He’s fighting for one of the last couple spots on the Wild blue line this year with Mike Reilly, Gustav Olofsson, and Ryan Murphy.

Steve Michalek is poised to be between the pipes tonight for Minnesota. He stopped 19 of 19 in the Wilds first exhibition game vs Winnipeg. He’s been down in Iowa for the past couple of years after being drafted by the Wild in the 6th round of the 2011 NHL Draft.

How to Watch/Listen

Unfortunately, the game will not be televised tonight despite it being a home game. However, you are able to listen to the game on Altitude Radio 950AM. The puck is set to drop at 5pm.