The Colorado Avalanche have arrived in Finland to take on the Columbus Blue Jackets in their two-game international series, which takes place this Friday and Saturday at 2 p.m. eastern on both days. It will be the team’s first international series since 2017 when they took on the Ottawa Senators but lost both of those games.
The Avalanche will have a couple of players on the ice that are from Finland, including Mikko Rantanen and and Artturi Lehkonen. Rantanen played for TPS Turku of the SM-liiga league from 2012 through 2015. He played in 108 games (56 in his final season there) and scored 16 goals and 24 assists during that time.
Lehkonen played five collegiate seasons, for the TPS Turku and KalPa Kuopio of the SM-liiga league and Frolunda HC of the SweHL. He accumulated 47 goals and 46 assists in the regular season during that time before becoming a second-round pick of the Montreal Canadians in 2013.
Colorado Avalanche have played a couple of International series in the past…
Since their resurrection in 2001, the Colorado Avalanche have gone overseas to play hockey just a couple of times.
On September 16, 2001, the team played Brynäs Gävle of the Swedish Hockey League during a preseason game. That happened to be five days after the September 11 attacks. The plan was to play multiple games but the tragedy took precedence, and rightfully so. The other teams the Avalanche were scheduled to play were against Djurgarden and Jokerit.
The Avalanche ended up falling to Brynäs Gävle by a final score of 5-3.
In 2017, the Avalanche faced the Ottawa Senators on September 10th and 11th. They fell short of victories in both games by scores of 4-3, including the second game heading into overtime.
What to look for in international series between Colorado Avalanche and Columbus Blue Jackets…
1. A fast start: I would love it if the Avalanche got off to a quick 2-0 lead and kept their foot on the gas. Unfortunately we witnessed the team lose a 3-0 lead against the New York Islanders, as they surrendered four goals in the third period and lost 5-3 after finishing the second period up 3-1.
2. Who will be in net?: So far this season, the starting goaltenders for each game has gone like this:
- Alexandar Georgiev vs Chicago Blackhawks
- Pavel Francouz vs Calgary Flames
- Georgiev vs Minnesota Wild
- Georgiev vs Winnipeg Jets
- Francouz vs Seattle Kraken
- Georgiev vs Vegas Golden Knights
- Georgiev vs New York Rangers
- Francouz vs New Jersey Devils
- Georgiev vs New York Islanders.
Given that it will have been six days since the team has played, I would think that Georgiev, who was traded for this offseason to be the starter, will start in net on Friday with Francouz in net on Saturday.
Georgiev is 4-2 as a starter this season. Francouz is 0-3.
3. Evan Rodrigues continuing hot start with Avalanche: A lot of fans seemed to want the Colorado Avalanche to sign Evan Rodrigues this offseason and the team did just that following hte departure of Nazem Kadri.
Rodrigues got off to a slow start with the Avalanche, going the first four games with not only zero goals, but no points whatsoever. Since then, he has four goals.
The Avalanche have been shifting around their lines, trying to figure out what works and what doesn’t. It’s been a real struggle early on. Against the Islanders, Rodrigues was the first line left winger. Against the Devils, he was the second line right winger.
The musical chairs continues as Gabriel Landeskog continues to miss time and with Kadri no longer here.