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Much better stuff from the boys in burgundy and blue than the previous two home games so far this preseason. The Avs outshot the Minnesota Wild 30-16 through the first two periods and generally carried the play in their 4-3 overtime victory, on Mikko Rantanen’s power-play one-timer at 1:29 of OT. With one more preseason game to go, it’s time for the Avs to get the butts more in gear and tonight I thought the did that – but there were some flaws.
I mean, any team that gives up a short-handed goal in the final minute of a game it leads by one goal – yeah, that’s not good.
Other takeaways from the night:
- The Avs played six regular D-men in the game, with Patrik Nemeth and Mark Alt getting the night off. It’ll be very, very interesting to see who wins that sixth defensive job to start the season. Right now, it appears to be between Nemeth and Mark Barberio. Now, Jared Bednar could play seven D in a game – he did it at times last year – but probably not to start the year. The other question is whether Bednar will keep eight D on the roster to start the year, or just seven.
- Some bad news: Sven Andrighetto will miss two to four weeks with a left foot injury. I saw him on a scooter after the game, and the foot was in a boot. Another injury for the Swiss kid. You never want to start the season on the injured list, but it will be the case with No. 10.
- I thought Barberio had a good showing in this one. He on the ice for the Avs’ first two goals, and none against, and generally moved the puck effectively.
- It was certainly a better showing by goalie Philipp Grubauer than his previous outing against the Wild, when he allowed six goals on 24 shots. He got help from the post in the first period, but overall he seemed fine. Grubauer stopped J.T. Brown on a breakaway early in the third period to preserve a 2-1 lead. He made the initial save on Jason Zucker’s short-handed goal that tied it, but nobody put a body on Zucker and he was able to put in a rebound that tied it in the final, disappointing.
- Colin Wilson played right wing on a line with Tyson Jost and Alexander Kerfoot, and my hunch is that will remain the second line when the season starts. Actually, Jared Bednar essentially confirmed this after the game. I don’t know – Colin Wilson in the top six? After his performance from last season, I’m worried about this. But Bednar said injuries played a big factor in his poor numbers last year, and he’s healthy and “quicker” now.
- Gabriel Landeskog seems a bit off so far in the preseason. He threw a pass away from the half-wall on the power play in the third, then lost another puck on the wall seconds later. I’m sure he’ll be fine when the bell rings, but so far he’s looked a bit sloppy and a bit slow. Landy did draw a penalty with 2:21 left in the game, though, that essentially finished the Wild. He got Matt Dumba to hold him while playing keepaway with a puck by his own blue line.
- I thought Tyson Jost was good, moving the puck quickly and skating well. It was no doubt a boost to his morale to score a goal in the first period.
- Anton Lindholm skated this morning in a pumpkin jersey. Not sure of his exact injury, but it doesn’t seem serious.
- Nikita Zadorov had some tough moments, especially on the goal by Nino Niederreiter that cut Colorado’s 3-1 lead to one. Big Z kind of backhanded a pass to a Wild player along the wall, then was late getting back to the front of the net.
- Kerfoot definitely looked good in this one, and has looked good since camp started. He had three points and almost a fourth when he was awarded a penalty shot in the third. He hit the post to the glove side of old friend Andrew Hammond.
- Nathan MacKinnon played, looked strong on his skates, and assisted on Rantanen’s winner. He played only 11:31 in the first two periods, and not a whole lot in the third. Bednar obviously doesn’t want to risk him too much in the preseason, and wind up with an injured star, a la Corey Perry.
- Ian Cole threw away a puck in his own end that forced Grubauer to make a great save with about 4:30 left in the game. Cole has not looked tremendous so far, but he’s an older veteran and they often take their time getting into the groove of a season.
- Too many times, the Avs were caught flat-footed at their own blue line leading to odd-man rushes. The 2-on-1 in the final minute, leading to the Zucker goal, was Exhibit C or D by this time.
- The Avs will hold a practice Saturday at the Pepsi Center, as part of their FanFest activities.