At this point, that’s what I’d predict, although the Dallas Stars may have something to say about that.
While the Avalanche are off to a very strong 7-2 start, no one has been able to beat the Golden Knights in regulation. They sit at 10-0-1 this season, with their only loss coming in overtime to the Chicago Blackhawks.
So, does this game against the Golden Knights mean a little bit more to the Avalanche?
“I mean, each game is so important,” Miles Wood told me. “I don’t think it’s a benchmark game. It’s more about what we do, what we can control. I think it’s just about sticking together and playing as a team that’s most important.”
The final preseason game between these two clubs was about as intense as it gets for a game that doesn’t matter. Does Wood expect this game to a physical affair?
“Absolutely, I do,” he said. “They’re a big, strong team. We have some big, strong players on this squad as well. I expect it to be very close. I think we’re all super excited for it.”
As for the lineup for the Avalanche? Your guess is as good as mine. Riley Tufte had a huge for the Eagles last night, but he hasn’t been recalled. Artturi Lehkonen missed practice on Thursday, but it appears he’s ready to go, so he’ll be back on the top line. That leaves both Tomas Tatar and Jonathan Drouin as wild cards. Based off practice, I’d expect Tatar to play on the second line, but given how well O’Connor looked with Colton and Wood, Drouin may be relegated to the fourth line.
Alexandar Georgiev will be back in net for the Avalanche against the Golden Knights.
While the Golden Knights are off to a dominant start, their underlying numbers are very interesting. They’re in the bottom 1/3 of the league in terms of possession numbers, and are riding high with a tremendous team shooting percentage. Those numbers aside, they’re still incredibly dangerous.
William Karlsson leads the way for them offensively with 13 points in 11 games, but they’ve got six players with at least eight points, so the offense comes from everywhere.
It looks like it will be Adin Hill who starts, but both their goaltenders have been difficult to beat this season, so the Avalanche will have to be on top of their game.
Expected Colorado Avalanche Lines
Artturi Lehkonen – Nathan MacKinnon – Mikko Rantanen
Tomas Tatar – Ryan Johansen – Valeri Nichushkin
Miles Wood – Ross Colton – Logan O’Connor
Andrew Cogliano – Fredrik Olofsson – Jonathan Drouin
Devon Toews – Cale Makar
Bowen Byram – Sam Girard
Jack Johnson – Josh Manson
Expected Vegas Golden Knights Lineup
Colorado Avalanche Power Play: 20%, 14th in NHL
Colorado Avalanche Penalty Kill: 94.4%, 2nd in NHL
Vegas Golden Knights Power Play: 25.6%, 8th in NHL
Vegas Golden Knights Penalty Kill: 88.2%, 7th in NHL
How to Watch
TV: Altitude TV, ESPN+
Radio: 950 AM
Game Time: 8:00 PM MST