The Colorado Avalanche are a part of another season opener after hosting their own last night that involved the raising of the Stanley Cup Champions banner. This time, they have traveled North of the border for the first time this season to face off against the Calgary Flames.
As crazy as it sounds early on in this season, this could easily be a future playoff match-up months down the line. Both teams have some insane quality on either side and it will be displayed tonight at the Saddledome for the Flames’ first game of the year.
The Avs are running on short rest after ending last night’s game late against the Chicago Blackhawks. They rested this morning and will look to get another two points tonight and tie themselves with the early lead in the Central Division with the Nashville Predators.
They won las night against the Hawks 5-2 in an emotional game. Of course, raising a banner beforehand will help the cause, but multi-goal games from Valeri Nichushkin and Artturi Lehkonen led the way for the Avs which included four of their five goals being scored on deflected shots.
They’ll look to do it again on their first road trip of the year against what will be a much better side. While Gabriel Landeskog and Darren Helm will remain out, the combination of the fourth line will be one to watch once again tonight - whether it’s Kuris MacDermid or Anton Blidh getting the call.
Artturi Lehkonen (62) - Nathan MacKinnon (29) - Mikko Rantanen (96)
Evan Rodrigues (9) - Alex Newhook (18) - Valeri Nichushkin (13)
Andrew Cogliano (11) - J.T. Compher (37) - Logan O’Connor (25)
Lukas Sedlak (22) - Ben Meyers (59) - Anton Blidh (36)
Devon Toews (7) - Cale Makar (8)
Bowen Byram (4) - Josh Manson (42)
Sam Girard (49) - Erik Johnson (6)
Calgary opens its season against the Cup champs and will be tested right from the get-go. It’s necessary for their side who has moved into a new generation, post-Johnny Gaudreau.
Gaudreau left the Flames for the Columbus Blue Jackets to move closer to home, but it felt like a backstabbing against the city of Calgary. They went out and used what would’ve been Johnny-hockey money to get Johnathan Huberdeau, MacKenzie Weegar, and former Avs star Nazem Kadri.
While Naz was unable to join the Avs for last night’s banner-raising like Jack Johnson did, he will look to take his new team to the next level and continue to build off of his career year from last year. It should be a good one for him on home ice, as he and his team look to get started on the right foot themselves.
Jonathan Huberdeau (10) - Elias Lindholm (28) - Tyler Toffoli (73)
Dillon Dube (29) - Nazem Kadri (91) - Andrew Mangiapane (88)
Blake Coleman (20) - Mikael Backlund (11) - Trevor Lewis (22)
Milan Lucic (17) - Kevin Rooney (21) - Brett Ritchie (24)
MacKenzie Weegar (52) - Chris Tanev (8)
Noah Hanifin (55) - Rasmus Andersson (4)
Nikita Zadorov (16) - Michael Stone (26)
Calgary will go with their usual number one of Jacob Markstrom, who looks to lead the line once again this year in hopes of a deep playoff run. With Alexandar Georgiev playing for the Avs last night, expect Pavel Francouz to get his first start of the year at the Saddledome.