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Avalanche youngsters show lackluster effort in loss to Vegas

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Colorado Avalanche drop the preseason opener

Conor Timmins in NHL debut for Colorado Avalanche

It’s great to have hockey back - even if it’s the preseason. The Colorado Avalanche had a very young lineup tonight and it was obvious as the Avs dropped a 5-0 decision to the Vegas Golden Knights. Tyson Jost led the team as the only player who is guaranteed to be in the Avs’ lineup on opening night. He was buzzing but had very little to work with.

Conor Timmins was outstanding as the lone bright spot on the blueline and he has definitely earned a longer look as the preseason progresses.

It was an ugly game for the most part, but it gave us a look at some key pieces of the future of the franchise.

Since it’s the preseason for us to, here’s the game recap in point form:

First Period

  • Avs fell down early when Byram knocked a loose puck between Adam Werner’s legs for the own goal to give Vegas a 1-0 lead.
  • Conor Timmins is an absolute puck magnet. It looks as though he hasn’t missed any time at all. His calling card in the OHL was making inferior teammates look great and it looks like he’s carrying that over to the next level.
  • Bo Byram had some nice passes, got involved in a couple scrums but definitely looked like an 18-year-old raw rookie during a number of shifts.
  • Jost definitely looked like the only forward in the group that is playing at an NHL level. He was head and shoulders above all his teammates.
  • Nicolas Meloche was very underwhelming. Had one scary defensive zone giveaway.
  • TJ Tynan was flying. He is going to become a fan favorite very quickly with the Eagles.

Second Period

  • AJ Greer got caught up ice resulting in a five on three in the Avs zone. The play ends up with a power play goal for the Golden Knights; 2-0.
  • Vlad Kamenev looks really fast, was great when he touched the puck but kept getting caught out of position leading to turnovers from his linemates.
  • Alex Beaucage has a great sense for the puck. Only a few months after being selected in the 3rd round it’s easy to imagine him in the NHL in a couple years.
  • “The speed is a lot faster here than it was in the rookie tournament, this tells us a whole lot more about the guys” - Avs AGM Craig Billington
  • Hunter Miska replaced Werner midway through the period. A rather unspectacular night for Werner who left with 11 saves on 13 shots.
  • AJ Greer did a great job killing off a 5-on-3.
  • Despite leading in shots 22-14 the Avs have not had any sustained offensive pressure through 40 minutes.

Third Period

  • Sheldon Dries and Byram lose their assignments off the rush resulting in a third goal from Vegas. Nic Hague makes it 3-0
  • Meloche with another ugly defensive zone turnover resulting in the 4-0 goal for Vegas. He’s been fighting the puck all game.
  • The Avs youngsters looks totally discombobulated for the first half of the period.
  • Sasha Mutala showed little life in the third. Had a couple dangerous rushes.
  • Erik Condra gets the best scoring chance of the night as he rings a wrist shot off the crossbar.
  • Ryan Graves leaves the game with four minutes remaining after taking an errand stick to the eye. Hopefully he’s ok.
  • Mark Barberio leaves his man completely unattended leading to a fifth goal against. Byram looked completely outmatched on the rush

Final Thoughts

  • Martin Kaut definitely has an NHL body but not close to NHL speed. He looked slow playing with Jost and AJ Greer.
  • Nick Henry is not afraid to shoot the puck.
  • Tyson Jost was by far the best Avalanche player on the ice. A welcome sign since he is the only one who is guaranteed to be in the Avs lineup on opening night.
  • It’s only one game but Timmins looks significantly more NHL ready than Byram - and everyone else for that matter.
  • At the end of the day, this was the first preseason game and the Avs lineup was filled with players who will be in either the AHL or junior this season. It’s hard to put too much stock into what happened in the game. That said, Conor Timmins is legit - we should all be very excited about his future.
  • For those who couldn’t watch on Altitude, you weren’t missing much. It was clearly preseason for McNab and Moser as well.
  • Cuts are coming tomorrow. The best thing to do is forget this game and move on.
  • There were like 500 people at the Pepsi Center. Where’s everybody at?