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Avalanche cruise past Wild in preseason opener, win 4-1

Cole Hamilton Avatar
September 28, 2016

 

The Colorado Avalanche took their first small steps into the Jared Bednar era on Tuesday night with a preseason road victory over the Minnesota Wild.

As the Avalanche’s new head coach continues to get familiar with the roster, Bednar used his first preseason game as an evaluation tool, icing a very green roster filled with borderline players battling for NHL roster spots. The Avalanche dressed only three players (Eric Gelinas, Mikhail Grigorenko, and PTO Rene Bourque) with over 100 games of NHL experience. The Minnesota Wild iced a more veteran roster in their first home preseason game with 9 NHL players with over 100 games, including starting goalie Devan Dubnyk and free agent acquisition Eric Staal.

After a somewhat tentative start, Victor Bartley opened the scoring for the Minnesota Wild, beating Avalanche goaltender Jeremy Smith inside the elbow with a slapshot from the point. After surrendering a goal that Smith would have liked back and despite hitting a pair of first period posts, the team did not get rattled, but kept things close on the shot tracker, and headed into intermission trailing 1-0.

In period two the Avalanche struck early when Mike Sislo buried a one-timer from Troy Bourke to tie the game. Half-way through the period, veteran PTO Rene Bourque gave the Avalanche a lead on the power play with assists going to Chris Bigras and Eric Gelinas. The Avalanche and Wild played a relatively even game through 40 minutes, but Colorado took over the game early in the 3rd period.

The Avalanche came out in the final frame with a series of aggressive and creative bursts of offense and were eventually rewarded when Mikhail Grigorenko redirected a point shot from Duncan Siemens to give the Avalanche a 2 goal lead. After replacing Jeremy Smith for the start of the third period, Nathan Lieuwen made a highlight reel behind the back glove save to deny Jason Pominville a power play goal.


Down two, the Wild pulled their goaltender early, but to no avail. Avalanche forward Ben Smith scored the empty net goal with just under 2:30 remaining in the game to send the Avs home with a 4-1 victory.

Highlights

 

Quick Hits:

  • Avalanche PTO Rene Bourque wore an alternate captain letter for the game and led the Avalanche in points with the game-winning goal plus an assist.
  • All three Avalanche players serving as alternate captains scored goals (Rene Bourque, Mikhail Grigorenko, and Ben Smith)
  • The Avalanche outshot Minnesota 30 to 28 and narrowly won the possession battle

Avs Wild Preseason 1

The Avalanche continue their preseason campaign tomorrow night. The Dallas Stars visit the Pepsi Center at 7:00 PM MST.

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