Colorado Avalanche: Can They Ignite Their own Flames


The Colorado Avalanche need a strong start to the season.

Ok, don’t panic, Avs Nation. The Colorado Avalanche have gone 1-1-1 in the preseason, but those games don’t count.

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I’m talking myself off the ledge, by the way. After seeing the Minnesota Wild win a decisive 8-1 victory over the Winnipeg Jets, I was far from even keel. (Winnipeg coach Paul Maurice’s sarcasm about Minnesota coach Mike Yeo helped.)

Let’s face it, our young team, despite the veteran leadership of the likes of Alex Tanguay and Jarome Iginla, is pretty mental. If the Avalanche don’t manage another win in the preseason or don’t at least score against the Minnesota Wild on opening night, we could see another tailspin.

In other words, it’s very important that the Colorado Avalanche win against the Flames in Calgary tonight.


Who’s in Net?

While it’s true there are still at least half a dozen players legitimately fighting for a spot on the roster, the biggest question is who’s going to be Semyon Varlamov‘s backup. Starting at the conclusion of last season, head coach Patrick Roy was already stating training camp and the preseason would be a time for Reto Berra and Calvin Pickard to fight over the position.

Coach Roy has reiterated that the two are in competition this year. Berra got his first big shot in a 1-0 loss against the Calgary Flames. He posted a .960 save percentage, which is really good. Coach Roy has been open about the fact that Pickard’s big shot is tonight against those same Flames.

Berra said of the challenge:

"“I’ve had this day keyed in for about a week now, and I’m looking forward to getting in the net.”"

Key to the Game

Shooting Gallery

Part of what sent me into my panic last night was the fact that the Los Angeles Kings outshot the Colorado Avalanche 36-18. That’s twice as many shots. Shades of last season.

Last season the Avalanche vowed to get at least 30 shots on net during the last couple months of the season. When they kept that vow, they had a real chance to win hockey games — and often did so. The Avs did well over the first two games, but that 18-shot differential is just too close to last season for comfort.

The Avalanche need to shoot the puck to get a chance at making goals. By the way, seven of the 18 shots came from defensemen.

Who’s Hot, Who’s Not


Goalie Roman Will, center Ben Street and center Colin Smith have all been sent to the minors. No big surprises there.

Right wing Jack Skille is day-to-day with a hip injury. He was on a professional try out, so this is really bad timing.


Gabriel Landeskog, because this:

Pretty good Peter Forsberg impression, no?

I noticed last season that whenever I called out defenseman Tyson Barrie — like remarking he didn’t have a lot of pep in his step — he went on to have a solid game. Barrie’s not playing tonight, but let’s call him permanently called out so he has a phenomenal season.

The game begins at 7:00 pm. There is no television broadcast, but you can listen on the radio through the Avalanche website.

Next: Who Will be the Avs 4th Line Center?

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