The big question after the game – did Justus Annunen do enough to give the organization some faith he can handle the backup job for now?
Annunen was tested and tested a lot. Given the rosters, that was to be expected. Quite frankly, that might have been the plan all along for the Avalanche. Test Annunen (and everyone else) against a strong lineup, and see if they can hold their own.
Keep in mind, no one could actually see this game. The dulcet tones of Conor McGahey painted a picture for everyone listening, and it sure seemed like the undermanned Avalanche roster was having issues slowing down the veteran roster the Wild dressed. Maybe this was the game to bet on the NHL preseason.
The Wild started hot, scoring on their first shot of the game. Not long after, they added another. In between those two goals, Annunen was forced to stop Wild superstar Kirill Kaprizov on two separate breakaways. The Finnish goaltender held his own the rest of the game, stopping 31 of 34 shots. It wasn’t enough for the Avalanche to walk away with the win, but results don’t matter right now.
What can Annunen do to show the team he’s ready for the job?
“He’s got to be able to stop the puck,” Bednar said last weekend, with a smirk. “Simple. That’s the job.”
After two preseason games, Annunen has stopped 45 of 49 shots. It’s s start.
Vancouver placed Spencer Martin on waivers Thursday afternoon, and more goaltenders will soon hit the waiver wire. Colorado will have options. Will they choose to go with an external option, or is Annunen on his way to securing the job? We’ll find out in the coming days, but he’s put together two solid games in a row, so he’s putting up a fight.
Matt Stienburg and Riley Tufte scored the goals for Colorado in the loss.
The Avalanche will be back at practice on Friday, and host the Dallas Stars on Sunday evening at Ball Arena.