In Las Vegas, a "tell" is a dirty word. You don't want to give away your hand with some kind of twitch or habit. But when it comes to the Colorado Avalanche making the final decision on its final top-six defenseman, the team might have made a tell Thursday night in Vegas.
Chris Bigras - not Duncan Siemens, not Andrei Mironov - got the start in the Avs' preseason finale at T-Mobile Arena against the Vegas Golden Knights. It was Bigras' chance to show coach Jared Bednar why he deserves one of the top-six spots, and he definitely seemed to make the most of it.
Bigras played 17 minutes, 40 seconds in the Avalanche's 4-2 victory, which concluded their preseason with the same record. He had two assists, was a plus-1 and blocked two shots in the victory.
Wednesday, Bednar was asked how close Bigras was to making the team.
"For me, his play has gotten better and better as camp has gone on," he said.
It got better against the Golden Knights. The question Bednar now has to face: Would he be OK with having another mobile, finesse-type D-man in Bigras, or is he going to want more of the banging, tough, stay-at-home types that Mironov and Siemens are?
Bednar has less than a week to decide, as final cuts down to the 23-man roster have to be made by the mid part of next week, when the regular season starts.
OTHER TAKEAWAYS FROM THE PRESEASON FINALE
Nail Yakupov sniped a great first-period goal from the left faceoff circle against Marc-Andre Fleury. Yak played just a little more than 13 minutes, but again looked comfortable on a line with Matt Duchene and Alex Kerfoot.
Another strong night for Semyon Varlamov. He stopped 24-of-26 shots for his third straight win of the preseason.
Defenseman Anton Lindholm probably sewed up a roster spot with a fine game. He played nearly 18 minutes, assisted on a goal and was credited with four hits.
Erik Johnson's first-period touchdown pass to Sven Andrighetto was a thing of beauty.
The Avs didn't possess the puck enough. They were outshot 36-22 and they had to block 18 more Vegas shots, to just six the other way. The defense, needless to say, remains something of a work in progress.