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Colorado Avalanche Game Day: It’s Here!!

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The Vegas Golden Knights head to the Pepsi Center to open up the preseason schedule

NHL: Colorado Avalanche at Vegas Golden Knights Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports

It’s here! Hockey is here!

Tonight the Colorado Avalanche open their preseason schedule as they host the defending Western Conference champion Vegas Golden Knights.

This is going to be our first chance to see the Avs in action since their incredibly surprising run to the playoffs last spring. A lot of outsiders are predicting regression for the team, so there is a lot for this group to prove this season.

We are going to see the two major offseason additions tonight as both Ian Cole and Matt Calvert are expected to be in the lineup. It will be interesting to see how both fit in with the the group of veterans that suit up tonight.

Who will be in the lineup?

We don’t have a full lineup yet, but after practice yesterday, coach Bednar mentioned that we are going to see the big line of Nathan MacKinnon, Mikko Rantanen and Gabriel Landeskog as well as a line that looks like it could be the 4th line come opening night -J.T. Compher between Matt Calvert and Logan O’Connor.

On the back-end, we know Tyson Barrie, Erik Johnson and Ian Cole will all dress, giving us a look at at least half of the starting six.

In net, Semyon Varlamov is set to get the start tonight and play at least half the game. Spencer Martin is also expected to get some game time in relief of Varly.

***Update: here is the full lineup for tonight:

Defense: Mason Geertsen, Tyson Barrie, Erik Johnson, Ryan Graves, Ian Cole, Josh Anderson

Forwards: Matt Calvert, Logan O’Connor, J.T. Compher, Nathan MacKinnon, Julien Nantel, Josh Dickinson, J.C. Beaudin, Nick Henry, Travis Barron, Brandon Saigeon, Gabriel Landeskog, Mikko Rantanen

The opponents

Vegas is resting a bunch of their top guys up front tonight, though we will see one familiar face as Paul Stastny will make his Golden Knights debut. Here is a look at the rest of the players Vegas will be bringing out tonight:

Forwards: Ryan Carpenter, William Carrier, Reid Duke, Cody Eakin, Lucas Elvenes, Erik Haula, Tomas Hyka, Oscar Lindberg, Brooks Macek, Brandon Pirri, Paul Stastny and Alex Tuch

Defensemen: Erik Brannstrom, Brayden McNabb, Jon Merrill, Colin Miller, Griffin Reinhart and Zach Whitecloud

Goaltenders: Dylan Ferguson and Zachary Fucale

What to look for

  • Let’s see how Ian Cole adapts to his new teammates. He’s expected to be relied upon pretty heavily by Bednar, so tonight will be a good first look.
  • Is Logan O’Connor really an NHLer? Many who have watching the former Pioneer believe that he’s no quick enough to be a regular in the NHL. That said, the team invested an ELC in him, so they’re going to give him every opportunity to grab one of those bottom-6 winger roles.
  • How does Varly look? It’s been a long time since we’ve seen a healthy Semyon Varlamov. He’s heading into the biggest season of his career, so hopefully he’s able to hit the ground running.
  • For Vegas, we’ll get to watch Erik Brannstrom in game action. The 19-year old was selected 11 spots after Cale Makar in the 2017 NHL Entry draft, so it will be interesting to see how he fairs against NHL competition.

What are you looking for from tonight’s game?