The Avs bounced back from an opening loss with a solid 5-1 win vs the Stars. The theme this pre-season has been LOTS of penalties and special teams and this game didn’t disappoint. Throw a couple young rosters at each other with the added bonus of the Rampage vs TX Stars rivalry and you can count on physical play. Since the game was radio-only and no highlights have been offered we shall plow forward on anecdotes and statistics.
As the game was starting we got news that Anton Lindholm had a mishap in warm-ups and would be replaced by Duncan Siemens, who was hanging out in street clothes just 20 minutes prior. After a fairly gruesome performance on Tuesday this was a big chance at redemption and he took advantage. Played 19 minutes of solid hockey, almost 4 of that on PK and stood up for his D-partner by mercilessly pummeling Remi Elie after he injured Sergei Boikov. His 13 minutes at even strength led the team.
The top thing on my mind was seeing if Semyon Varlamov could put together a good game in a first step towards the regular season. He stopped all 13 shots at even strength and 6 of 7 on the PK, with the only goal coming in 3rd period garbage time. Not a major test but definitely a confidence builder.
The Avs scored early and often with Warsofsky, Andrighetto and Boikov throwing down in a 3 minute stretch starting 2 minutes into the game. Alex Kerfoot added a PPG early in the 2nd and Dutch scored early in the 3rd to ice the game. Nail Yakupov had 3 assists and by all accounts had a helluva game.
However you care to look at it, the Avs dominated this game. Shot attempt percentage was 57%, they outchanced the Stars 18-9 at 5v5 and didn’t allow a scoring chance or shot on goal 5v5 during the entire 3rd period.
Matt Duchene’s line, with Kerfoot and Yakupov, was dominant and all ended up at 75% or better CF%. The Landy/Compher/Andrighetto line also kicked ass, all better than 66%. The bottom 6 struggled at even strength, all below 50% except Greer, who lagged in 5v5 ice time because of some penalties, playing a ton on the PP/PK and finally an injury to his hand.
Bigras (+12/-6), Siemens (+17/-9) and Mironov (+15/-11) were all solid. Barberio and Warsofsky were under 50%, not that it matters but it’s a bit of a concern since they were 2nd/3rd in TOI. Boikov only played a little over a minute due to injury so the remaining 5 logged a lot of time.
– Varly was good and showed progression
– The Avs can still suppress shots, this game showed they might be able to score while doing so for a change.
– Duncan re-entered the conversation for the 6/7 D spot. Now that Lindholm’s health is in question I guess the #5 spot could be in play. Luckily Chris Bigras continued his solid pre-season with a couple of assists and led the team in TOI.
– Sergei Boikov left with what appeared to be a shoulder injury and Coach Bednar said it did not look like a day-to-day thing unfortunately.
– Yak can dish the puck.
– After a bland game on Tuesday, Kerfoot had a goal and an assist and seems more at home with Duchene/Yakupov than he does with Mack/Mikko