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Morning Flurries: Colorado Avalanche drop 3-1 in Dallas

Bednar’s COVID-19 positive, Francouz’s injury update and Rantanen’s good news headline what was a busy day

NHL: Preseason-Colorado Avalanche at Dallas Stars Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

For the first time in 19 months the Colorado Avalanche played a team outside the temporary Honda West Division and travelled to Dallas which they hadn’t done since 2019 to take on the Stars. Unfortunately the visitors could not find much offense and dropped yet another road game with a 3-1 final score. It was the first of a home-and-home set with the Dallas Stars and the second game kicks off at Ball Arena at 5pm MT on Saturday. The Avalanche will hope to get a better result and end the preseason on a high note in that contest.

The Avalanche got out to a very fast start as they dominated possession at 77% Corsi For and 68% of expected goals. They and held the shot advantage in the first period 12-8 which was only made close by a late Stars power play. Unfortunately the Avalanche did not cash in a goal on their own power play or the even strength pressure they were able to generate. Which made it even more painful when Dallas got on the board with one of their few chances courtesy of Michael Raffl who pounced on a Ryan Murray errant pass and rifled the puck past Darcy Kuemper all alone in front.

A completely different story unfolded in the second period as the Stars finally woke up, drew three more power plays in the second period and just generally kept the puck away from the Avalanche as evidenced by a ghastly 3-14 Dallas shot advantage. They added another goal to their total when Jason Robertson weaved his way through the Avalanche’s defensive coverage for a 2-0 lead.

The third period seemed a bit more even in momentum of play but the Avalanche could just not generate any offense despite earning two power plays and finding a 12-7 shot advantage. JT Compher got the Avalanche’s lone goal very late in the game on a rebound with Kuemper on the bench for the extra attacker. Dallas responded immediately with an empty net goal to keep the score handily to their advantage and ended with a 3-1 final.

Those who played center had a tough night on the dot which contributed to some of the offensive problems. Compher took another penalty and was 4/16 on his face offs, he’s going to need to pick things up when the regular season begins despite scoring the only goal.

As was expected no television or video any kind for this game which was very disappointing to not be able to watch what was likely the final evaluation game for the likes of Shane Bowers, Martin Kaut, Sampo Ranta and possibly even Alex Newhook. Mikhail Maltsev who was one of the only bright spots in the last game against Vegas seemed to do enough to secure his position on the roster but all of these forwards have reasons for and against to begin the season with the Avalanche.

Aside from the game it was an eventful day of news the first of which was an announcement that head coach Jared Bednar will be away from the bench for the two games against Dallas. He tested positive for COVID-19 and we wish Coach a speedy recovery.

Also, Pavel Francouz’s lower body injury was deemed to need 3-4 weeks of healing and puts him out of action until November at the earliest. For now it seems like the Avalanche are content to roll with Darcy Kuemper and Jonas Johansson as their tandem in net, which hopefully neither of them suffer any setbacks in the interim.

The Avalanche also announced a minor cut prior to the game in Dallas. With the group of forwards Stefan Matteau, Kiefer Sherwood, Dylan Sikura and defenseman Roland McKeown clearing waivers they were officially assigned to the Colorado Eagles. The Avalanche indicated that Francouz would also be placed on Injured Reserve. For now Francouz still counts in the 31 players who remain on the roster along with fellow injured teammate Devon Toews who also will surely be assigned to IR prior to the season start.

In happier news, Mikko Rantanen was named as one of the first three provisional players to team Finland for the 2022 Beijing Olympics. Aleksander Barkov and Sebastian Aho will join him as what should be a strong Finland team seeks gold.