The Colorado Avalanche play their penultimate preseason game against the Anaheim Ducks at the Honda Center this evening. The big story going into the game is that the Avalanche have nearly solidified their opening night roster.
Actually, that’s one of two big stories. The other story is that Colorado has only scored one goal in three games and is 1-2-1 in the preseason.
So, what needs to happen in this game?
Keys to the Game
He Shoots, He Scores
The Colorado Avalanche had a tough time shooting against the Los Angeles Kings, managing only 18 shots on net and no goals. The team solved that first problem against the Calgary Flames, earning 30+ shots on net. Still no goals, though.
The party line is that the goal of the game against the Calgary Flames was to test prospects to make roster decisions. The Avalanche put out an AHL lineup against Calgary’s mostly opening night roster.
Fine. Tonight’s game features mostly Colorado’s opening night roster. The Avalanche need to both shoot and score.
Veteran forward Alex Tanguay doesn’t agree:
"“We’re going to try to ramp things up, but certainly there’s no panic. We want to score some goals, but if we save them for next Thursday it’s just fine.”"
Sorry, Tangs, but that sounds dangerously close to the rhetoric from last season.
The young players have a tendency to get into their own heads. They need to get some confidence going into the regular season.
Stop Living in Sin
The Colorado Avalanche need to stop living in the sin bin. The players have got to tighten up their discipline and stop taking penalties.
Now, it’s great that the Avalanche penalty kill has been getting some practice during these exhibition games. However, the penalty kill hasn’t been a problem for them. Last season, the power play struggled.
If the Colorado Avalanche could draw a few penalties and go on the man-advantage before pulling the goalie at the three-minute mark… well, that’s be peachy keen.
Who Makes the Team?
As of right now, we know exactly who the eight defensemen are:
- Erik Johnson
- Francois Beauchemin
- Tyson Barrie
- Nikita Zadorov
- Brandon Gormley
- Nate Guenin
- Nick Holden
- Brad Stuart
Say what you will about that lineup, that’s who the Colorado Avalanche have for defensemen.
The big question is which forwards make the lineup. Currently there are 16 forwards left but only 13 roster openings. One forward — Jesse Winchester — is on injured reserve. That means the team needs to cut two forwards.
The general consensus is that Mikko Rantanen is going to make the team because of how strongly he’s played in the preseason. It’s also thought that Dennis Everberg and Borna Rendulic will be sent down because they’re on two-way contracts. However, those decisions aren’t set in stone yet or head coach Patrick Roy would have implemented them already.
Curtis Glencross and Jack Skille are both on professional tryouts. It could be that Everberg and/or Rendulic have the chance to steal a position from those players. Skille and Everberg are both day-to-day with hip injuries, so maybe the big battle is between Rendulic and Glencross.
(For what it’s worth, I’d choose Rendulic over Glencross.)
The game against the Anaheim Ducks is one in which the teams will skate for three-on-three overtime regardless of the score. The Colorado Avalanche have already played three-on-three overtime twice before — both times to decide the game.
The game starts at 8:00 pm MDT and will be televised on Game Center. NHL Game Center blocks local games, but Colorado residents can listen to the game through the Colorado Avalanche website.
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