Tonight the Colorado Avalanche will host their division rival the Minnesota Wild, likely in front of another sold-out crowd at the Pepsi Center. The Wild lost to the Preds in their opener and look to avoid going (0-2) to start the 2019-20 regular season while the Avs are riding the high of an opening night W over the feisty Flames.
As the opener came to an end on Thursday evening in Denver, one thing was clear. This year’s Avalanche team is going to play an explosive and entertaining brand of hockey. The boys jumped all over Calgary in a game that seemed to be an extension of last year’s playoff duel. The Avs scored on the powerplay but looked confused on the kill. Bednar and the boys will look to improve the ladder.
Every team acquires some fresh faces from one year to the next, but this Avalanche lineup features five new forwards. Colorado’s fresh faces shined in the opener. Winger Joanis Donskoi scored twice, and head coach Jared Bednar complimented Donskoi, Kadri, and Nichuskin in post-game talks with the media. The powerplay unit was an absolute marvel with 96, 29, 92, 91, and 8 on the ice. Look for that to be on full display again tonight.
Getting an early jump on the Wild and the rest of the Central Divison should be the focus of the regular season for Bednar and the Avs. The Central is considered the most competitive division in the league, and if Colorado wants a home-ice advantage in the playoffs, they’ll need to perform well in divisional games.
LANDESKOG - MACKINNON - RANTANEN
JOST - KADRI - DONSKOI
NIETO - COMPHER - BURAKOVSKY
CALVERT - BELLEMARE - NICHUSHKIN
GIRARD - JOHNSON
ZADOROV - MAKAR
GRAVES - TIMMINS
The Wild will play their second road game in a row after losing to the Nashville Predators in their season opener. Things looked suitable heading into the second intermission as the Wild were holding onto a 2-1 lead. Things quickly shifted in the third period, where the Preds scored four unanswered goals.
PARISE - STAAL - ZUCCARELLO
ZUCKER - KOIVU - FIALA
GREENWAY - KUNIN - DONATO
FOLIGNO - ERIKSSON EK - HARTMAN
SUTER - DUMBA
BRODIN - SPURGEON
SEELER - HUNT
Ryan Clark reported that Philipp Grubauer was the first goalie off the ice in the morning skate, which often indicates he’ll start again this evening. Grubby looked hot and cold in the opener. It’s hard for a keeper to get into a going when they don’t face a shot for the first 5 minutes of the game. Let’s hope he can stop a few easy ones early so that he can find his groove.
Devan Dubnyk will get the nod for the Wild. He remains one of the best players, if not the best player on the Wild’s roster. Avalanche fans know of his ability to steal games all too well. Dubnyk looked stout and reflexive in the opener before the whole team struggled in the third.