The Avalanche return to Texas for the first time in nearly two years. Not only this, they play the Stars for the first time after they knocked the Avs out of the bubble 2020 NHL Playoffs in the second round in Game 7 in overtime.
For Avs fans, it was an incredibly bitter defeat. Despite the multitude of injuries the Avs suffered in that series, they fought back from 3-1 down and were three minutes away from a Game 7 win which stung even more.
While the series loss for the Avs was forever ago, things have changed drastically for these two sides. The Avs are still in the hunt for the top spot in the West, while the Stars are in the midfield hunt for a low seeded playoff spot.
While playoffs are long ways down the line from this point, the Avs are coming off a devastating blow 7-4 to the Vegas Golden Knights on Tuesday night. While the lost hurt, the more devastating blow to this game was the lower body injury to Pavel Francouz.
Coming off double-hip surgery that left him out of the entirety of last season, the hope is that this is not as serious of an injury. This seems to have been the case, as the Avs announced he will be out 3-4 weeks.
I'm out and about in Cherry Creek and just witnessed #Avs Pavel Francouz coming out of a Clean Juice with no brace or boot, wearing slippers and drinking what looked like a delicious clean juice.— Aarif Deen (@runwriteAarif) October 6, 2021
Pavel Francouz will be out approximately 3-4 weeks with a lower-body injury. pic.twitter.com/hHbNX8RNb7— Colorado Avalanche (@Avalanche) October 7, 2021
A few highlights from the game however included the returns of Nathan MacKinnon, Mikko Rantanen, and Andre Burakovsky to the line-up. Mackinnon nabbed two assists, while Rantanen and Burakovsky recorded two goals each for all of the scoring Tuesday night. The big names did well in their first game since June, and will look to progress further in these final two preseason games against the Stars.
Speaking of Rantanen, the Moose received some good new this morning:
Finland's first three players for the Beijing Olympics: Sebastian Aho, Aleksander Barkov and Mikko Rantanen.— Chris Johnston (@reporterchris) October 7, 2021
Oh and he’s going to have a friend turn into a rival for a couple weeks:
From the @NHL to @Beijing2022:— IIHF (@IIHFHockey) October 7, 2021
Say hello to your first 3️⃣ @Trekronorse Men's #Olympic Players:
READ MORE: https://t.co/ZUknuqbVwB@Avalanche @NYRangers @TBLightning pic.twitter.com/Z8tRwdvyj8
The Stars are coming off their second win of the preseason thanks to a 3-1 defeat to the St. Louis Blues. Two third period goals from Luke Glendening and Jamie Benn were the difference in the result.
In the back, the Stars are in an interesting place with the net-minder battle between Braden Holtby and Anton Khudobin. Khudobin led the Stars to the Stanley Cup Final in 2020 playing in an unbelievable form, but had somewhat of an off year last year. The acquisition of Holtby will make that battle interesting, along with Ben Bishop still wallowing around the team looking to get the starting job back.
Holtby impressed in Tuesday’s win, only spicing up the starting job in Dallas even more. With Holtby playing all of Tuesday’s game against the Blues, expect Khudobin to be in the team, and there may be an appearance from Bishop as well against the offense of the Avs.
Here’s the Avs lineup for tonight from Peter Baugh.
Here’s who is skating in the #Avs game group:— Peter Baugh (@Peter_Baugh) October 7, 2021
Forwards (12) - Kaut, Maltsev, Jost, Megna, Anisimov, Ranta, Compher, Newhook, Burakovsky, Bowers, O’Connor, Helm
Defensemen (6) - Johnson, Johnson, Girard, Murray, MacDonald, Byram
Goalies (2) - Kuemper, Johansson