Preseason is officially over folks. It’s time to look ahead to the real deal now, with the regular season kicking off on Wednesday night against the Chicago Blackhawks. Before we go there, here’s a quick recap of last night’s final preseason game against the Stars (shoutout to Nathan Rudolph from DNVR providing videos of the goals from the press box on Twitter).
The Avs came out with the majority of their starters, whereas the Dallas Stars played more prospects. This made a difference, as the Avs had chances galore.
It would be an advantage for the Avs, as Nathan MacKinnon connected with Andre Burakovsky for a tap-in for an early lead.
Burky straight vibin 1 - 0 pic.twitter.com/iZNejCrxGX— Nathan Rudolph (@Nathan__Rudolph) October 9, 2021
The chances continued, as Valeri Nichushkin and Darren Helm both had chances rejected by Braden Holtby. Sampo Ranta was at fault for a boarding penalty for a hard hit along the benches, causing a skirmish. Dallas would commit a penalty of their own that would carry over to the second frame.
After an unsuccessful power play, play slowed down and became more neutral. Ranta took his second penalty of the night, and it would lead to a Denis Gurianov power play goal that snuck by Jonas Johansson to tie it at one.
Puck just slips through the seam on the Avs pk and it's tied pic.twitter.com/CrpJqrREoF— Nathan Rudolph (@Nathan__Rudolph) October 10, 2021
Another Dallas penalty would benefit the Avs, as what sounded (and looked) like was a beautiful tip from below the goal line by Mikko Rantanen over the left shoulder of Holtby gave the Avs a 2-1 lead.
Moose man redirects puck at impossible angle 2 - 1 pic.twitter.com/zx1l9bJrLL— Nathan Rudolph (@Nathan__Rudolph) October 10, 2021
Ranta committed his third penalty of the night, and the Avs had a 2-on-0 shorthanded that could not be converted before the end of the period.
Avs fans heard/viewed an excellent preview of the connection from the top line for the regular season when Rantanen fed MacKinnon for his second goal of the night and a 3-1 advantage.
Cheat code accepted. 3 - 1 pic.twitter.com/mOpkhmHRr4— Nathan Rudolph (@Nathan__Rudolph) October 10, 2021
Dallas continued to fight. Ranta took yet another penalty - his fourth of the night - and it lead to a power play goal that again slipped through Johansson to cut the deficit in half.
Penalties lead to goals it turns out 3 - 2 pic.twitter.com/Tc2SWQnpc9— Nathan Rudolph (@Nathan__Rudolph) October 10, 2021
A flurry of penalties saw Gabriel Landeskog have multiple chances in a 4-on-3 advantage that were all stopped by Anton Khudobin who had entered the game. JT Compher pulled out an empty-netter late to kill it off 4-2.
They win their second and final game of the preseason to end with a 2-4-0 preseason record. Both wins came on home ice, and prepares them for the regular season where it actually counts this time around.
We’ve finally made it. The regular season starts this week! The redemption tour begins this week on Wednesday night at 8 p.m. MT when the Colorado Avalanche face-off against the Blackhawks. While not as long as last year’s offseason, the four months off after being knocked out in the second round by the Vegas Golden Knights has left Avs fans bitter.
While the Avs will be without one of their top defensemen in Devon Toews or their backup goaltender in Pavel Francouz on opening night, there will be several new and old faces looking to deliver this season.
The big line of Landeskog, MacKinnon and Rantanen will continue to do their thing. Alex Newhook will be in a bigger role and look for a breakout season. Helm will fill in the spot P.E. Bellemare and Matt Calvert held for the past few seasons and hold that fourth line strength.
There are several stories to look at this season. How will Darcy Kuemper perform in a new environment with a strong defense ahead of him? Will the acquisition of Ryan Murray pay off? Is Jared Bednar on the hot seat if the Avs don’t make it past the second round for the fourth year in a row? What will be the defensive pairings come opening night and throughout the season?
While these can’t be answered now, it will be some good stories to follow throughout the season. Nonetheless, there is hope that this Avs team is just as strong to make another run to the cup as the last three seasons.
Regardless, through the ups and downs we’ve faced over the last two years, let’s all come together at Ball Arena and cheer on the team we love. We all love the Avalanche, and let’s show it this season at home, on the road and anywhere in-between. Get ready Avs fans, it all begins this week. Let’s go Avs.