Takeaways from Second Avalanche vs Flames Game: Questions


Very happy with Reto…He was sharp and sometimes when you work hard it pays off. – Patrick Roy after Montreal game

The Colorado Avalanche have a lot of questions — or, rather, they did going into the second preseason meeting between the Avalanche and Calgary Flames. Even though the Avalanche lost to the Flames 2-0, I wager head coach Patrick Roy has the majority of the answers he wants.

Reto Berra Question

One of the major questions finishing out last season and going into this one was who was going to be Semyon Varlamov’s backup goalie. True, the front offices ostensibly acquired Swiss goalie Reto Berra for that position, but after Berra’s two failed starts last season, that seemed far from sure, contract extensions notwithstanding.

That question seemed to remain after the first preseason game when the Avalanche sent their B-team to Anaheim. Berra let in two goals in two shots, and the panic mode was almost palpable in the Avs Nation. The Avalanche fell to the Ducks 4-0.

After that, Berra seemed to shake it off, and he has been solid in net ever since. He hasn’t seen a win yet, but then the Avalanche haven’t won a game yet, no matter who’s been between the pipes — that includes Varlamov.

In the game against the Montreal Canadiens, Berra made 33 saves on 36 shots. Two of the three goals he let in came during the penalty kill — including an extended one in overtime.  Berra made 22 saves on 23 shots for a .957 save percentage against the Flames.

Berra has had three starts, and the Avalanche have scored only two goals in those games. That makes it tough to win games.

Offense Question

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  • Speaking of goal scoring, going into tonight’s game, the Avalanche had only seven goals in five games. They now have only seven goals in


    games. Yes, that’s pretty ugly for a team that prides itself on being offense-minded. The Avalanche offense is bound to be a question still needing an answer.

    Of course, coach Roy may very well have the answers he needs as far as bottom-six goes. He sent mostly forwards competing for one or two spots in the bottom-six to Calgary. Their performance — or lack in some cases — likely showed him what he wanted to know. It’s unlikely much more in the way of auditioning is going to happen in the final two preseason games.

    Unfortunately, a new question arises concerning forward Jesse Winchester. He went -back-first into the boards during the first period. he finished out the period, but didn’t return to the game after the first intermission. Any Jesse Winchester injury is a potential question for the bottom-six.

    Now, coach Roy can go about answering his questions of chemistry — especially in the top-six.

    Defense Question

    If there was a positive takeaway from the game against Calgary, it’s that the defense looked sharp. Berra had to make some big saves, but the defense kept it from getting ugly.

    Jan Hejda didn’t have a great night — Nate Guenin’s was slightly better. It’s unlikely either will be sent to the Lake Erie Monsters, but they could find themselves on Nacho Patrol. Ryan Wilson played big minutes, but he didn’t have much to show for it — which was good because both Guenin and Hejda were -2.

    Neither Max Noreau nor Daniel Maggio was as sharp as they have been in previous games. Zach Redmond, on the other hand, had a very sharp night. Coach Roy will clearly base his decisions on more than one game, but it’s always good to end strong.

    The Colorado Avalanche host the reigning Stanley Cup champion LA Kings at the Broadmoor in Colorado Springs on October 2. The team that takes the ice for the final two games is likely to be very close to what the Avs Nation can expect come the open of the regular season on October 9.