The good and the bad of the Avalanche’s 5-1 preseason loss to Vegas

Sep 18, 2018; Denver, CO, USA; Colorado Avalanche defenseman Ian Cole (28) skates in the second period during a preseason game at the Pepsi Center. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

With the first preseason game of the season coming and going for the Colorado Avalanche, there are plenty of things to take away as the Avalanche fell 5-1 against former Avalanche forward Paul Stastny and the Vegas Golden Knights.

Before everyone freaks out about the final score of the game, it is important to remember that this is only the first game of the preseason for the Avalanche and not a game with any implications whatsoever.

However, with this said, there is still plenty of things to take away from this game against the Golden Knights;

The Good

The line of Logan O’Connor, Matt Calvert, and J.T. Compher

A line that has been together throughout training camp did not disappoint in the first game of the preseason, as they seemed to be gelling all night long in all aspects of the game. They were hungry for the puck and for the chance to prove themselves as legitimately capable of playing NHL minutes.

“I think every day [in training camp] we just sort of built on what we did the day before, and they are good guys to play with, and have been able to help me along the way so far,” O’Connor said. “They are good at giving feedback and talking on the bench after shifts and work on what we can do to get better.”

The line’s tenacity was rewarded in the third period, as Avalanche defenseman Adam Graves blasted a shot from the point following a faceoff win in the Vegas zone to cut into the Golden Knights lead.

When on the PK, Matt Calvert will be an aggressive pest for opposing teams 

With the Golden Knights earning the first power play of the game, it became clear from the start that the Avalanche will not be missing the services of Blake Comeau. Newly acquired forward Matt Calvert will be able to fill in that role, as he was able to fully display his strong penalty killing abilities.

Similar to Comeau last season, Calvert has no problem forechecking opposing teams to put some pressure on their players as they are looking for an easy outlet pass to set up within the Avalanche zone. Due to his intense forecheck, Calvert was able to force the Golden Knights to regroup, thus wasting time off of the clock, and limiting the Golden Knights chances.

Communication between Erik Johnson & Ian Cole

For many fans who weren’t able to attend training camp, Wednesday’s game with the Golden Knights was their first look at defenseman Ian Cole, who was acquired in the offseason. The two-time Stanley Cup champion defenseman is known for his stay-at-home defensive skills, and he was able to give fans a glimpse of his skillset.

As with any defensive pairing, chemistry is an absolute must. Being the most likely top pair for the Avalanche when they head into the regular season, Avalanche fans were able to see some of them chemistry already forming between the two veteran defensemen.

The Bad

As with any blow out loss, there are plenty of negative things to take away — preseason or not.

Undisciplined & sloppy play by Mason Geertsen

Wednesday night was a game that Geertsen will want to forget sooner rather than later.

In a game that was fairly clean, Geertsen found himself in the penalty box for a couple of the Golden Knight goals that forced the Avalanche to trail 3-0 into the second period.

Following up with his undisciplined play, Geertsen made some poor decisions that ended up in Golden Knights scoring chances — one of these moments happening in the third period as Geertsen stripped a Golden Knight from the puck, and dropped the puck off to a Golden Knight while in his own zone, giving the Golden Knights a scoring chance.

Despite these mistakes, expect Geertsen to look to rebound in the next preseason game for the Avalanche.

Rust, rust, and more rust

As with any team who is just starting up, the chemistry will be off. Tonight was a classic example of this, as it just seemed that the Avalanche were unable to shake off the cobwebs to get anything solid going in the Vegas zone.

Wrapping it up

As the Avalanche continue to go down their preseason schedule there will be plenty of rust that will eventually be going away. With secondary scoring being a large question heading into the regular season, a large positive bright spot was the play of Compher, O’Connor, and Calvert.

Being only the first game of the preseason schedule, expect plenty of chemistry to continue to grow and rust wearing off of players day by day.

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