On a night where all of the lights were on the Colorado Rockies playoff-clinching victory over the Washington Nationals, a little further down the road at Pepsi Center the Colorado Avalanche welcomed their rivals, the Minnesota Wild for a preview of the Avalanche home opener October 4.

Being the second to last preseason game, it quickly became evident that the team was beginning to take its shape as the Avalanche used a similar roster as the one you can expect for opening night.

The Avs 4-3 victory over the Wild featured a handful of goals from guys they had been and will be needing to step up, but a few other things stood out from the exhibition match and they are as follows;

  1. Dominant to open the game

The start of the first period was largely about both teams feeling each other out. Then, the Avalanche opened up their game as the period went along, heavily outshooting the Wild 18-to-5 closing out the period.

With the Avalanche controlling the game, it was only a matter of time before the Avs buried their first goal. Forward Alexander Kerfoot took advantage of a Wild turnover, beating Wild goaltender Alex Stalock to give the Avalanche the 1-0 lead.

2. Samuel Girard continues to spin his way to victory

Acquired in the Matt Duchene trade last season, Avalanche defenseman Samuel Girard continues to impress fans with his overall play and agility. His shifty style of play is flashy but effective as well and Girard was able to continue to display his hockey intelligence with a timely spin move to separate himself from the opposition.

3. Tonight was the night for Alexander Kerfoot to shine

Following a strong rookie season with the Avalanche, a large critique heading into this upcoming season for Kerfoot was his ability to shoot the puck when given open chances. From the looks of tonight’s game, Kerfoot appears to be moving in the right direction and is actively looking to get more pucks to the net and it is clearly paying off. Finishing the game with three points, Kerfoot displayed that his development is coming along smoothly.



4. Special teams

Although the Avalanche were only able to convert once on the power play, they were able to use a timely power-play tally from newly acquired forward Matt Calvert in the third period that helped the Avalanche come away with the victory. Throughout the game, Calvert continued to impress on the penalty kill by earning the Avalanche a scoring chance with a shorthanded breakaway.

In overtime, special teams made the ultimate difference, with Rantanen coming away with the game-winning goal in the best way he possibly could — from his office on the power play.


5. Phillip Grubauer

Coming up with a few large timely saves, Phillip Grubauer looked fairly impressive for the Avalanche against the Wild. Being able to make a few post-to-post saves, Grubauer displayed his speed when it comes to getting across the crease, something that Avalanche fans are used to seeing from Semyon Varlamov.

He finished the game making 21 saves in the victory.

Grubauer continued to play strong for the most part in the third period, coming up with big saves as the Wild poured on shots. Despite his efforts, in the final minute of the third period, the short-handed Wild stormed down the ice on an odd-man advantage with Wild forward Jason Zucker sneaking it past Grubauer to force overtime.