After a rough opening night at Pepsi Center, the Colorado Avalanche will look to bounce back tonight against a Dallas Stars team that is expected to pace the Central Division this season.
A very young Avs team was iced on Tuesday evening at The Can and it most definitely showed. Colorado fell 5-0 to the Vegas Golden Knights in a very you-didn’t-miss-much kind of game. In the contest, there was only one forward on the Avalanche roster that is guaranteed a roster spot this season and his name was Tyson Jost, who was also the Avs’ best, most confident player on the ice on Tuesday — rightfully so.
Tonight, the Avalanche will look to improve — and score at least one goal — against the Dallas Stars, while icing what appears to be a very close iteration to what will be its opening night lineup tonight.
After starting a lineup of mostly AHL and junior players in its first preseason game, the Avs will unleash some of its star power tonight.
Avalanche faithful will get their first opportunity to see the likes of Nathan MacKinnon, Gabe Landeskog and Cale Maker suit up for the first time this season, as well as newcomers like Nazem Kadri, Andre Burakovsky and Joonas Donskoi. As expected, Bowen Byram will be in the lineup again — expect him to play in every game, as the Avs front office has made it well-known that they want to see as much of their most recent first-round pick as possible to see if he’s a capable NHL mainstay this season.
Avs fans will also get their first chance to see Calle Rosen in a Colorado uniform tonight. Rosen will more than likely lineup with Byram on the blueline this evening, as those two were paired up all throughout training camp and were very impressive. On the note of defense, I’m kind of surprised to not see Conor Timmins in the lineup tonight. He was by far the best defenseman on the Colorado blueline on Tuesday against Vegas. I figured, like Byram, he’d play in every game of the preseason to give him as much time to catch up after missing a year and a half of competitive hockey. I guess they’ll be easing him back into it, after all.
Of note, Martin Kaut, Mark Barberio and Byram are the only players from last game’s roster to play again tonight.
Forward: Matt Calvert, Valeri Nichushkin, Logan O’Connor, Nathan MacKinnon, J.T. Compher, Pierre-Edouard Bellemare, Martin Kaut, Joonas Donskoi, Matt Nieto, Nazem Kadri, Gabriel Landeskog, Andre Burakovsky
Defense: Cale Makar, Mark Alt, Mark Barberio, Bowen Byram, Calle Rosen, Sam Girard
This will be the Stars’ third game of the preseason. Dallas opened up its “trial run” hockey games by getting shutout 2-0 by the defending Stanley Cup champion St. Louis Blues on Monday, but rebounded against the Minnesota Wild in a quick turnaround on Tuesday, beating their Central Division foe 2-1 in overtime.
Unlike the Avalanche, the Stars are opting to keep its superstars off the ice for now. Guys like Tyler Seguin, Jamie Benn and Ben Bishop will not be on the ice at Pepsi Center tonight. Instead, they’ll opt for a younger, AHL-looking lineup, as the Avs did on Tuesday, this evening.
Notable NHLers: Mattias Janmark...I guess?
Between the Pipes
Like its forward and defense lineup, the Avs will go with its NHL starters in Philipp Grubauer and Pavel Francouz tonight. Expect them to do a 50-50 split in time, much like Adam Werner and Hunter Miska did on Tuesday.
Following the trend on the Dallas side, the Stars will go with its AHL tandem in Jake Oettinger and Landon Bow.
If the Avs lose this one, I don’t know what to tell you. This should be an easy matchup against an NHL roster and an AHL roster.