After an exciting 5-4 overtime victory for the Avalanche in their first preseason game over the Anaheim Ducks, the offense has dried up. Tonight, the Avalanche were defeated 2-0 by the Calgary Flames, giving the Flames their second shutout of the Avs in the past week. Colorado has managed a single goal in their past three preseason contests, all losses, although tonight's lineup was missing several of the Avalanche's top offensive talents.
Moments after puck drop, Nathan MacKinnon's twig was snapped in two, a dubious sign for the boys in burgundy and white, and an omen for what was to come. Jiri Hudler took advantage of the Avalanche's misfortune, scoring the contest's first goal just 24 seconds in. Johnny Gaudreau set things up, showing off his silky hands with a nice feed to the front of the net. The Avalanche rebounded with strong territorial play for most of the first period, but were unable to generate many quality scoring chances.
The second period started off in a similar fashion as the first, with Jiri Hudler potting his 2nd goal of the contest at the 1:00 mark. This time, the Avalanche response was poor at best. Calgary took the play to the Avs for the entirety of the period, and forced the Avs into taking four penalties. A 4/4 effort on the penalty kill was a small consolation prize, as the Avs' AHL heavy lineup looked outmatched and outworked.
Patrick Roy likely had some sharp words in the room during the intermission, because the Avalanche came out with a bit more pop in period three. Despite the extra juice in their game, they still were unable to generate too many dangerous chances, and the few opportunities they did have were turned aside by Kari Ramo. Calvin Pickard was strong for the Avalanche, stopping 30/32 shots on the night, but he takes the loss. Jonas Hiller and Ramo combined for the shutout, turning away a combined total of 29 Avalanche shots.
September 29, 2015; Preseason game 4
Scotiabank Saddledome in Calgary, Alberta, Canada
1. Jiri Hudler, F, Calgary (scored both Flames goals including GWG)
2. Michael Frolik, F, Calgary (1A, strong forecheck and defensive presence)
3. Blake Comeau, F, Colorado (team high 7 shots on goal)
Play of the Game:
The opening goal by Hudler was a pretty one from the Flames' perspective, and proved to be the only offense Calgary needed. During a game where offensive chances where few and far between, the Flames capitalized on a chaotic situation early in the game after MacKinnon broke his stick.
By the Numbers:
Nick Holden was the Avs' leader in ice-time by a wide margin, totally 25:01. Recently signed PTO, Curtis Glencross, got 18:27 to make his impact on the coaching staff tonight. Mikael Backlund won 11/14 face-offs for the Flames, who were a dominant 61% on the dots this evening. As many as 12 cuts/re-assignments are expected to be made by the Avalanche tomorrow, so tonight was the last chance for many to earn a roster spot.
For the Avalanche as a whole, it is a minor concern to see the team struggle offensively again tonight. However, we should see the roster and lines expected on opening night to start to come together in these next two games.
For many of the youngsters, this will be their last game in an Avs' sweater this season. For a few veterans, it may have been their last appearance in an Avalanche jersey, period.
The Avalanche are in Anaheim Thursday night to take on the Ducks, 8:00 pm MT start. They finish up their 2015 preseason schedule with their annual Frozen Fury contest in Las Vegas against the Los Angeles Kings on Saturday, also an 8:00 pm MT start. The Frozen Fury will be televised on Altitude and NHL-Network.