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Colorado Avalanche Game Day: Who is this Rasmus Dahlin guy anyway?

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Avalanche travel to Buffalo searching for their first road win of the season

NHL: Los Angeles Kings at Colorado Avalanche Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

The Colorado Avalanche continue their road trip this evening with a visit to Buffalo to take on Rasmus Dahlin and the Sabres.

It’s time to get that first win away from the Pepsi Center.

The team looked pretty disjointed on Tuesday in Columbus, and given the way they performed on the road last season, that’s a little concerning. But it was one game against a very good team, so let’s hope a bounce back is in the offing.

The Sabres sub-par defense should be enough for the Avs to generate lot of scoring chances, it will just be a matter of getting a few past Carter Hutton, who has looked tremendous so far. Tonight would be a great night for Tyson Jost and Alex Kerfoot to score their first of the season.

Shutting down Jack Eichel will be important. He has three goals through three games and it feels like we are on the verge of a breakout season for the 21-year old.

The top pair will likely draw the matchup whenever possible since Sam Girard is likely thee only defender that can keep up with Eichel.

It’ll be fun to see big goals tonight from both Nikita Zadorov and J.T. Compher. I’m sure that will go over well with Sabres fans.

Colorado Avalanche

This team needs to learn how to play on the road. The top line looks unstoppable at home when coach Bednar gets the matchups he wants. Unfortunately, it’s a much different story on the road. Last season, only 30% of Nathan MacKinnon’s 97 points came away from the Pepsi Center and on Tuesday night, the road woe trend continued.

We are going to need to see a bounce back game from everyone.

Vladislav Kamenev is going to make his season debut, filling in for Sheldon Dries and we are expected to see Patrik Nemeth back in the lineup after he missed the previous two games.

Forwards

Gabriel Landeskog - Nathan MacKinnon - Mikko Rantanen

Tyson Jost - Alex Kerfoot - Colin Wilson

Matt Nieto - Carl Soderberg - Gabriel Bourque

Matt Calvert - J.T. Compher - Vladislav Kamenev

Defense

Sam Girard - Erik Johnson

Nikita Zadorov - Tyson Barrie

Ian Cole - Patrik Nemeth


Buffalo Sabres

The Sabres come into this game after an impressive victory against the defending Western Conference Champions Monday afternoon. After a few major acquisitions - and one big departure - the Sabres are hoping this is the year they finally make the jump into playoff contention.

Conor Sheary has has 3 points in as many game and has looked great playing with Jack Eichel. He’s brought a level of confidence to a team that seems to have lacked it in the past. Along with Sam Reinhart, the top line has been quite impressive.

Part of Eichel’s growth this season likely has a lot to do with the fact that the Sabres actually have a second line to back him up. Kyle Okposo is healthy and back to his old self and Jeff Skinner is the high-end secondary sniper the team drastically needed.

Dalhin helped, but the blueline is still pretty bad, luckily they’ve got a huge upgrade in net when they signed free agent goalie Carter Hutton.

Forwards

Conor Sheary- Jack Eichel - Sam Reinhart

Jeff Skinner - Patrik Berglund - Kyle Okposo

Remi Elie - Casey Mittelstadt - Tage Thompson

Zemgus Girgensons - Evan Rodrigues - Jason Pominville

Defense

Marco Scandella- Rasmus Ristolainen

Jake McCabe - Rasmus Dahlin

Nathan Beaulieu - Casey Nelson


Starting Goalies

After getting the night off in Columbus, Semyon Varlamov is going to be back in next for the Avalanche. Without a loss this season, Varly will get his first road. He has a very impressive .948 sv% though the early part of the season.

Coming off of an impressive 35 save performance on Monday, Carter Hutton is expected to be back between the pipes for the Sabres. Hutton has been great through his first three games in Buffalo posting a .943 sv%.


What to watch for

  • Sam Girard had a pretty rough third period in Columbus - something we should expect from a 20-year old defender playing top-pair minutes. Let’s see how he responds tonight.
  • Let’s see if Rasmus Dahlin can live up to the hype. He has been averaging 19 and a half minutes per game, but is still looking for his first NHL point.
  • Speaking of overblown hype, people drastically exaggerated the type of impact Casey Mittelstadt was going to have on the league this season. He is a good young player, but he’s going to to take time before he’s an impact player in the NHL - something like what we’re seeing with Tyson Jost.
  • Can the Avalanche bounce back. Last season, their play on the road was a huge concern, let’s see if Tuesday was an anomaly or if they are going to continue the trend started last year.