One more before they count
Today marks the end of the Colorado Avalanche preseason. In their preseason finale the Avalanche will face the Dallas Stars at Ball Arena. The Avalanche played the Stars on Thursday in Dallas in a game that ended up as a 3-1 loss for the Avalanche.
Colorado’s exact lineup has yet to be announced but we will put out an announcement when they do. We can assume in tonight’s game the Avalanche and Stars will likely be icing most of their regular NHLers to give them one last opportunity to get prepared for the regular season. There will be some guys that have their spots on the team locked up not playing tonight. This is so the guys battling for roster spots can get in and prove why they should make the team. After the Avalanche sent Martin Kaut and Shane Bowers down to the AHL the competition for the last two roster spots has come down to Sampo Ranta, Mikhail Maltsev, and, to a lesser extent Alex Newhook. Alex Newhook is likely not battling for a spot on the team, as he has shown well enough in this preseason and in his time with the team last season. Newhooks main battle is over a spot in the third line. After an impressive preseason Sampo Ranta is showing himself as a legitimate option on the third line. Maltsev’s likely position in the lineup is fourth line center between Darren Helm and Logan O’Connor. All three young guns have been performing well this preseason and have earned the opportunity to seal their spot in the lineup tonight.
For the rest of the Avalanche lineup tonight there are two goals, get up to speed and don’t get hurt. We have already seen an important NHL regular go down this preseason in Pavel Francouz, so it’s important that no one else gets hurt, especially the goalies. Against a physical team like Dallas, who’s lineup is filled with guys who love to stir the pot, this game could easily end up like last Thursday’s game against the Minnesota Wild. This makes it all that more important to try to come out of tonight healthy. The last thing the Avalanche need is for a big name player to be taken out of the game by Jaimie Benn in a game that means nothing. Speed is the other big part of tonight’s game. It could be hard to really get up to speed against a Dallas team who likes to play a very slow style of hockey, but it is important to get the legs going tonight. After the start the Avalanche had against the St. Louis Blues in their season opener last year we have seen the importance of getting up to game speed as soon as possible.
It appears that this game will not be
televised or streamed, again. So your best bet in terms of watching tonight’s game is going to the game, if you’re in the Denver area. Good tickets are extremely cheap, and with both teams icing a lot of their stars and regular lineup players, you’ll get a lot of bang for your buck. If you can’t go and watch the game Connor McGahey will again be calling it on Altitude Radio 92.5 FM.
Tonight’s lineup is pretty darn close to what we’ll see on opening night. Replace Barron with Makar and Ranta with Maltsev and I think we’re there: