Colorado Avalanche Preseason vs Stars: Answers to our 3 Questions

DALLAS, TX - JANUARY 13: Gabriel Landeskog #92 of the Colorado Avalanche skates against the Dallas Stars at the American Airlines Center on January 13, 2018 in Dallas, Texas. (Photo by Glenn James/NHLI via Getty Images)
DALLAS, TX - JANUARY 13: Gabriel Landeskog #92 of the Colorado Avalanche skates against the Dallas Stars at the American Airlines Center on January 13, 2018 in Dallas, Texas. (Photo by Glenn James/NHLI via Getty Images) /
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The Colorado Avalanche finished their preseason 3-3, which isn’t a bad result. Their final game was a 6-5 win over the Stars in Dallas.

The Colorado Avalanche concluded their season on a high note — a win against the Dallas Stars. Granted, goalie Semyon Varlamov allowed five goals, but Dallas goalie Colton Point allowed six, so let’s focus on that.

Unfortunately, the game wasn’t televised, though we do have some video that we’ll show shortly. (Thanks, as always, to Nathan Rudolph of Burgundy Rainbow.)

Well, between those videos and the game notes, not to mention what I’ve seen on my own, I feel like we’ve got some answers going into the regular season.

Will the Top Line Get Going?

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Well, unfortunately the answer to that question is that two-thirds of the top line got going because the most important third of the top line was out with an injury.

Star center Nathan MacKinnon missed the Fan Fest practice, which I noted at the time was weird. They called it a “maintenance day.” However, ahead of today’s game, Avs insider Adrian Dater reported that Nate had an injury and “isn’t playing tonight.” He’s supposed to be at practice on Tuesday.

The other two-thirds of the line (I didn’t mean to throw shade saying they were less important, just, you know, MacKinnon) made up for the lack. Captain Gabriel Landeskog recorded two goals and an assists, while winger Mikko Rantanen recorded a goal and two assists.

Though originally credited to Tyson Jost, the goal eventually went to Landeskog:

Here’s Rantanen’s goal:

Will Semyon Varlamov Earn his Opening Night Start?

Semyon Varlamov allowed five goals on 37 shots. But, as you see, he faced 37 shots, and that’s a Varly special. As I’ve noted, the starter job is his to lose. And I don’t see why he would have lost it.

I’d say Philipp Grubauer still has a chance to slowly usurp Varlamov. However, I don’t think it will be opening night.

Here’s a great save by Varlamov from last night’s game:

Who Will Make the Cut?

This question is tougher to answer not lease because the game wasn’t televised. I considered Gabriel Bourque and Dominic Toninato are fighting for a roster spot. I think Vladislav Kamenev, Sheldon Dries, Logan O’Connor and Mark Alt were fighting to stay in Denver rather than head up to Loveland and the AHL.

Well, neither Alt nor Kamenev suited up for the Dallas game. Vladislav also didn’t participate in the Fan Fest, so there may be an injury issue.

Bourque played almost 16 minutes and even saw time on the penalty kill. I’d say that shows some confidence from the coaching staff. The other three all had about the same amount of ice time. Toninato assisted on a Sheldon Dries goal.

I’m guessing Bourque earned a spot on the fourth line with Carl Soderberg and Matthew Nieto. It looks like Colin Wilson has been bumped up to the second line with Tyson Jost and Alexander Kerfoot. The third line is likely to be comprised of J.T. Compher centering Matt Calvert and… I’m going with Toninato. He’s looked the most NHL-ready.

Well, I’m not going to hazard a guess as to who gets sent down because the news will likely hit not long after this post publishes. However, I will say the Colorado Avalanche seem to have a strong pool of players to choose from for their opening night roster.

Next. Inaugural Fan Fest a Big Success. dark

The Avalanche are taking today off and will practice for the next two days. They open up their regular season on October 4 at home against the (hated) Minnesota Wild.