DENVER — The Avalanche opened the preseason on Sunday with split squad action. Head coach Jared Bednar manned the bench in Minnesota, as the Avs fell 3-2 in overtime to the Wild. And at Ball Arena, Colorado Eagles head coach Greg Cronin led the Avalanche to a 3-1 victory.

Alex Beaucage and J.T. Compher each scored on one of nine power-play opportunities at home before an empty netter sealed from Bowen Byram put the game away. Comphers tally broke a 1-1 tie late in the third period. And in Minnesota, Spencer Smallman and Shane Bowers had third-period tallies.

While preseason results don’t matter, individual performances and notable storylines often do.

My takeaways from Colorado’s 3-1 home victory:

First look at Georgiev

Colorado’s biggest offseason acquisition got his first taste of action in his new Avalanche colors. Goalie Alexandar Georgiev started the game, stopping 12-of-13 shots in 29:44 before being replaced by backup Jonas Johansson. The lone tally for the Golden Knights came from Paul Cotter, who fired a wrist shot past Georgiev on the power play.

Rodrigues storms out of the gate

Also appearing in his first Avalanche game, forward Evan Rodrigues was noticeable throughout the evening. It was almost as if the 29-year-old was playing like his job was on the line. Rodrigues drew multiple penalties and had a number of opportunities to score — even hitting the crossbar on one of nine power play chances for Colorado. In the second period, Rodrigues absorbed a hit along the boards from Zachary Hayes that sent him to the dressing room for further evaluation. He returned moments later without missing a shift.

Building chemistry

Rodrigues centered the Avs’ top line alongside J.T. Compher and Oskar Olausson. While it’s still unclear where Rodrigues will slot in when he regular season begins, it’s safe to say he’ll likely spend time with Compher at some point. Although Compher will more than likely slot in at center if or when it happens.

Two penalties for Martin Kaut

It’s been clear throughout training camp from both Bednar and forward Martin Kaut that this might be Kaut’s last big chance at cracking the Avalanche’s lineup. The 2018 first-round pick struggled in his first taste of preseason action, getting called for two minor penalties in the second period. The first call came deep in the offensive zone and the second came while backchecking.

Aarif Deen is our Colorado Avalanche beat reporter. He covers Avs games live from Ball Arena and attends practices, media availabilities and other events pertaining to the Avs on the daily beat. He is also a co-host of Hockey Mountain High: Your go-to Avalanche Podcast. Deen joined Mile High Sports upon completion of his bachelor’s degree in journalism and master’s in business administration from the University of Michigan – Dearborn. Before Mile High Sports, Deen worked for the Michigan Wolverines Athletics Department as the assistant sports information director.
Follow him on Twitter @runwriteAarif

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