The Avalanche finished their preseason with a 4-2 win in Vegas on Thursday night. Posting a record that matched the score and officially kicking off the stink from last year.
The game featured what could be the top 3 lines for the Avalanche. And they all contributed in tonight’s win.
The first period featured 2 penalties from the Avalanche and just one for the Knights. The Avalanche had the first opportunity with the man advantage and failed to do much with it. Managing 1 shot on net from Landeskog that was easily turned aside by Fleury. The Avs opened up the scoring at 16:24 with quick wrist shot from Yakupov in the slot. Duchene won the faceoff to Bigras who moved it to Kerfoot in the corner that quickly gave it to Yakupov for the goal. Pretty play. The Avalanche tacked on another with 49 seconds left in the first from a slick pass from EJ by his own hash circle to a streaking Andrighetto cross ice. Prettier play.
Now THAT’S an outlet pass! My goodness EJ— Mile High Hockey (@MileHighHockey) September 29, 2017
Varlamov looked great turning away everything he faced. He looked comfortable and made a couple of huge saves in the period.
The period ended with the Avs up 2-0 but both teams looked slow to gain any sort of momentum throughout.
The start of the second was quite different. Vegas came out flying and controlled most of the tempo. The Knights first goal came at 6:20 from a mishap in the defensive zone by Warsofsky. It looked like he blew a tire and then never regained his positioning as Shipachyov had all day to look for Colin Miller creeping in from the point. Surprisingly, that was the only goal scored of the period considering it was riddled with penalties from start to finish. Half of the period was played a man down with the Avs incurring 6 minutes of penalties and the Knights with 4. This was where Vegas almost doubled the amount of shots the Avs had for the period.
Varly was in complete control of the second as well and looked like a black hole out there sucking up everything that was sent to him.
2-1 Avalanche at the end of the 2nd.
The third period started with a Gabriel Landeskog breakaway in which he tried to pull it short size on Fleury but missed. The top line for the Avalanche got on the board with a tick-tack-toe play from Andrighetto, to Mackinnon across to Rantanen to go up 3-1 with 14:27 left in the 3rd.
Throughout the period, Vegas kept up the pressure and created many scoring opportunities in front of Varlamov. Shea Theodore finally got one over the stretched pad of Varly to get within one. Again, Varlamov stood on his head and was by far the best player on the ice for the Avalanche.
Tyson Jost picked up the Avs final goal with a play that was made entirely on the skill of Bigras when he motored through two Knights defenders along the boards and made a play to the front of the net. Game over.
The Avalanche were heavily out shot in Vegas by a margin of 36-22. Many of those Golden Knights shot came from the 7 powerplays they were awarded but the penalty kill was fabulous for the Avalanche tonight. The combination of Landeskog and Compher as well as Mackinnon and Nieto worked brilliantly. Compher especially was everywhere on the kill and was a menace to the Knights establishing any sort of consistency on the PP.
Who was missing was Tyson Jost. Delegated to the 4th line, he was invisible on the ice tonight. The Avalanche need to find a better spot for him on this roster as he’s too good of a player to play on the 4th line.
Varlamov was the allstar tonight. Turning away 34 of 36 shots with a SV% of .944. He looks to be back to form with performances like these. The Avalanche shouldn’t be comfortable relying on Varly to turn out these kind of nights on a regular basis though, he won’t last.
Most of the defencemen played a strong game. EJ looked better than ever and Zadorov still looks huge. 5 out of these 6 defencemen will make the team.
Other Notes about Vegas
- The fans were really into the game all the way through. Ooo’ing and Ahh’ing on almost every play
- Though they haven’t figured out that the goal net needs to be on its posts for a goal to count
- The stadium announcer plays back every offsides and icing throughout the course of the game
- This team will have a tough time winning games at home
The Avalanche begin the season in New York against the Blue Shirts on October 5th at 5PM.