The main objectives for the Colorado Avalanche heading into the final preseason game were to a) not get injured, b) score some goals, and c) get on to the regular season. For the most part they accomplished these tasks with a 6-5 victory over the Dallas Stars.
Colorado jumped out to a quick two goal lead just four minutes into the game with a couple power play goals by Gabe Landeskog and Mikko Rantanen. The Stars tied the game before the period was over but Tyson Barrie answered back to put the Avalanche back up by one.
The second period saw more penalties, goals by Colin Wilson and Landeskog again plus a fight between Ian Cole and Brett Ritchie for good measure. The Stars would add one goal of their own and the Avalanche took a two goal lead into the second intermission.
By the third period everyone couldn’t wait for the game to end as the play turned even sloppier. Dallas got one goal back when they pulled goaltender Colton Point but the Avalanche hung on for a 6-5 final score.
The Avalanche dressed most of their veterans the last two games but their play was still disjointed. The absence of some regulars such as Nathan MacKinnon, Nikita Zadorov and JT Compher in this contest, each allegedly due to precaution, didn’t help the cohesion. Still, for a team that needs to hit the ground running in four days several veterans need to flip the switch in a hurry.
Samuel Girard finished each of the four preseason contests he participated in with over 20 minutes of time on ice including the most 5v5 time on the team at over 16 minutes. This usage hints at the role and follow through on the plan from the coaching staff to increase Girard’s responsibility this season. He also was one of the veterans who was consistently engaged and polished through the preseason.
This game was a last audition for several forwards hoping to make the team and came away with a mixed bag result. Rookies Sheldon Dries, Logan O’Connor and returnee Dominic Toninato played on the fourth line together in this contest and didn’t offer the coaching staff much clarity. They were routinely buried in their own zone and finished the game under 30% Corsi For. One bright spot was in the third period when Toninato fed Dries in front of the net for the team’s sixth goal but outside of that there was little positive. Throw in Vladislav Kamenev, who stayed home with a minor injury, to the mix and the organization has some tough decisions to make on which. if any, forwards from the group will remain.
The Avalanche take on the Minnesota Wild for the first game of the 2018-19 season on Thursday, October 4th.