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Morning Flurries: Avalanche struggle, Vegas rolls on

NHL: Preseason-Colorado Avalanche at Minnesota Wild Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

Another day, another dropped preseason game for the Colorado Avalanche.

As always, there’s good news and bad news when it comes to poor showings, even in the caveat-filled world of preseason hockey. The good news is that their 7-0 decision was dropped at the hands of Minnesota’s near-entire starting roster, with players like Charlie Coyle, Jason Zucker, Mikael Granlund, and Jonas Brodin all appearing to put up impressive stats. And while it was a nasty wake-up call for Colorado’s prospect group, the fact that they weren’t ready to face Minnesota’s top players wasn’t exactly a cause for concern this year.

The bad news, though, is that it was a rough night for backup Philipp Grubauer. The German-born goaltender has expressed his desire to usurp Semyon Varlamov for the number one role - and while Varlamov’s appearance against the Vegas Golden Knights wasn’t exactly stellar, Grubauer’s seven goals against put him at an eyebrow-raising .788 save percentage on the night. And even though Colorado was icing mostly AHL prospects, the fact that they only managed 16 shots on Alex Stalock was a bit of a mess.

Still, there were some bright moments in the game - and although it was tough to see them fail to get on the board at all, at least some of the young players showed some real promise. [Mile High Hockey]

In other good news, Martin Kaut made his preseason debut for the Avalanche. And although it wasn’t his brightest night, he’s still getting a nice long look with the NHL club to prove himself after his selection in the first round this summer. [The Denver Post]

Around the league, the Vegas Golden Knights continue their reign of success through the preseason, managing to squeak out a victory against the San Jose Sharks at the last minute.

It was their toughest contest yet, and goaltender Maxime Lagace became the first member of the team’s depth chart to allow more than two goals when he let in four during the team’s 60 minutes of play.

Still, they’ve scored 24 goals in just four games, and the four goals allowed on Saturday night still means that they’ve only allowed nine tallies during those combined appearances.

And according to some coaches, it’s not just preseason luck, either:

No team has more wins than them, despite four teams having played more games, and only Toronto and Boston boast better records; Toronto has won all four preseason tilts in regulation (Vegas won on Saturday night in a shootout), and Boston has one overtime loss in their fifth game to sit at the top of the Totally Meaningful preseason standings.

Some other interesting notes to point out:

  • The Vegas Golden Knights remain undefeated, and have come up big in the majority of their games. One of those includes a 7-2 victory over the Arizona Coyotes, who sent their prospect squad to Sin City to open their preseason - but since that first night, Arizona has steamrolled over southern Cali. They took home a pair of wins in their split squad games against the Los Angeles Kings on Tuesday night, defeating LA’s B-squad with their top lineup while also managing a win with their prospects against Drew Doughty and company at Staples Center. Then, they demolished the Anaheim Ducks on Saturday night, netting six goals against Ryan Miller and only allowing one of their own when Adin Hill came in for Raanta in relief. It’s still early, but they look to be a much more legitimate threat than last year.
  • The Calgary Flames have their offense firing on all cylinders: hardly a surprise, given that they brought James Neal on board over the summer. But despite having scored 20 goals in their first six games (the second-most in the league, behind only Vegas), they’re 2-2-2 so far - and that’s in large part due to the league-high 21 goals they’ve allowed. Although they’ve played in around two more games than nearly everyone else, it’s still a red flag - especially since none of their goaltenders has been excellent across the board. Their backup spot is still up for grabs between Jon Gillies and David Rittich, but no one has stood out head and shoulders above the others so far.
  • The Toronto Maple Leafs and the Buffalo Sabres seem to have forgotten that it’s just preseason (hey, Max Domi! You’ve got company!)

Nothing like fighting during a game that means absolutely nothing, amirite?

To quickly circle back to Vegas, this is absolute gold:

Finally, send OHL Hamilton Bulldogs head coach Dave Matsos some positive thoughts.

In the final moments of Hamilton’s game against the Barrie Colts, Matsos collapsed behind the bench for the Bulldogs and was taken to the hospital. [Toronto Star]

There’s some good news, for sure:

Other sources also confirmed that when Matsos arrived at the hospital, he was alert. But those kinds of medical emergencies are always scary, and here’s hoping that everything is okay.