Takeaways From Avalanche vs Flames Game


“I think it’s just a matter of confidence. We need that killer instinct.” – Patrick Roy

The Avs Nation had a scare, and they’re not pleased with the record in the preseason: 0-4-1. However, it’s a still a learning process, and the Colorado Avalanche are learning a lot in the preseason.

Head coach Patrick Roy has been experimenting in the preseason, and that’s to be expected.Roy is also very well aware of what the record looks like — he fully acknowledges there is some concern about the losses. He adds, though:

“You’re making mistakes – turnovers, giveaways. But we mentioned it all along – we want to be ready for the start of the season.”

So, what are the Avalanche learning in this preaseason?

#5: Skates can break.

This is not important, just funny. Defenseman Nick Holden went into the boards. Apparently he tried to push off and broke the entire holder and blade right off the boot of his skate. He was left limping off the ice with just a boot on his left foot.

Personally, I’d be calling the manufacturer and demanding a refund. These are hockey skates. What if this had been a playoff game? They should be more solid.

That said, I wish the game had been televised so we could have seen Holden hobbling off the ice with a trashed skate.

#4: The power play looks solid.

The power play didn’t score in this game, despite a late attempt. Nonetheless, as color analyst Peter McNabb points out, they moved the puck well and pushed the play along. It’s good to get power play bugs worked out this early.

Coach Roy concurs,”I like the way we’re moving the puck on the power play.”

He also saw positives in the penalty kill and the defense. It’s his offense he’s not pleased with:

“We’ve had seven goals in five games. We might have to make some changes offensively. We need to be sharper with our shots. We need to crash the net. That may not be the way we usually play, but we may need to change things until play opens up.”

#3: Ryan O’Reilly has new moves.

Forward Ryan O’Reilly scored the lone goal for the Avalanche. Again, the game wasn’t televised, but apparently he executes a sweet little dance move before beating goalie Kari Ramos. Based on his preseason play, he’s looking pretty good to have a strong season. McNabb even predicted he’d have a 30-goal season. He’s never had one of those, but the time is ripe — especially considering his new contract and all.

#2: The chemistry still needs work.

More from Mile High Sticking

It’s not surprise with new key players and others returning from injury that the Avalanche chemistry isn’t there. And, as stated earlier, Roy does have a penchant for playing with line combinations. In fact, in this game Alex Tanguay joined Matt Duchene and Ryan O’Reilly, while Jarome Iginla lined up with Nathan MacKinnon and Gabriel Landeskog. Interestingly, O’Reilly took some faceoffs, though his win percentage wasn’t fantastic.

Duchene acknowledged Roy has a process, saying he knows the coach is going to keep experimenting while he’s looking for something specific. Of course, that something is obviously goal scoring considering he mentioned twice the Avalanche have only scored seven goals in five games.

Roy also tinkered with defensive pairings. Cornerstone defenseman Erik Johnson got paired with Nick Holden a few times. Tyson Barrie saw time with Jan Hejda and with Brad Stuart.

Speaking of defensemen…

#1: Erik Johnson is ok.

Live Feed

3 reasons the Avalanche won't win the Stanley Cup in 2024
3 reasons the Avalanche won't win the Stanley Cup in 2024 /

Puck Prose

  • Could Flames Goalie Dan Vladar Be A Trade Option for the Avalanche?Flame for Thought
  • Colorado Avalanche sign free agent Tomas Tatar to one year dealPuck Prose
  • The most important player to watch this season for the AvalanchePuck Prose
  • 2023 Central Division Preview Series: Colorado AvalancheBlackout Dallas
  • The Top 5 Centers in the NHL Today Might Not Be Who You ThinkPuck Prose
  • That’s the most important takeaway from the Calgary Flames game.

    Erik Johnson is ok

    . I don’t mean he’s an ok player — he’s a fantastic player. I mean he’s uninjured.

    Late in the first period Johnson collided with a Flame player and went down awkwardly. He got up, barely putting any pressure on his left leg as he made his way to the bench. He immediately headed down the hall toward the locker room, limping. Social media blew up in concern, and both radio announcer Marc Moser and McNabb kept worrying about the state of Johnson’s knee and what it would mean for the Avalanche if he were injured.

    Amidst my panic — Johnson is my favorite player — I did note that just a year ago many Avalanche fans were calling for Johnson’s blood, calling him a terrible player. Now everyone agreed universally that losing him would be a disaster.

    Thank goodness, the team doctor worked some magic, and Johnson returned in the second period. He played his usual, copious minutes the rest of the game and even got some decent scoring chances. I doubt he’ll make the trip to Calgary for the rematch with the Flames, and I’d like to see him rest up that knee as much as necessary before the regular season starts.

    The Avs Nation got a scare, but in the end, EJ is ok.