Yes it has arrived, opening night for the Colorado Avalanche. The team will be facing off against none other than their biggest rival in recent years, the Minnesota Wild.
As far as opening nights are concerned, it doesn’t get any better than this for Colorado. New faces, new excitement, and a fierce rivalry. Tonight would be a perfect time to show the league what they are about.
Opening Night Lineup
Players to keep an eye out on tonight will be newly acquired Nikita Zadorov and rookie Mikko Rantanen. Rantanen, selected 10th overall, is one of only four players from the 2015 draft to make their respective NHL teams.
Though of course it’s not just about the new boys. You want to keep an eye on everybody, especially in the first game of the season.
The Avalanche will be looking for rebound seasons from their star centers Matt Duchene and Nathan MacKinnon(notice MacKinnon back at center.) While also hoping for Erik Johnson and Tyson Barrie to keep their form from last year and possibly even improve on it.
Goaltending will be in good hands as Semyon Varlamov should continue to shine in net as he has, and should see improvement this season with a much better defense in front of him.
Borna Rendulic wil be very intriguing to watch, he became the first Croatian born player to score in the NHL last season before succumbing to injury. He has skill and can read the play well, he has played himself onto the team yet again, let’s hope we see a full healthy season out of Rendulic.
Colorado’s lineup isn’t all kids, and veterans like Jerome Iginla, Alex Tanguay, and Francois Beauchemin will be just as excited for this one. Here are the projected lines, according to Patrick Roy, who spoke with the media yesterday.
- Landeskog – MacKinnon – Tanguay
- Comeau – Duchene – Iginla
- Rantanen – Soderberg – Rendulic
- McLeod – Mitchell – Skille
- Beauchemin – Johnson
- Guenin – Barrie
- Zadorov – Gormley/Stuart/Holden
Healthy Scratches = Mikhail Grigorenko, X*, X*
*The two X’s are there for Gormley, Stuart, or Holden, pending Patrick Roy’s decision.
A Record on the Line
Not only will tonight’s game mean so much for all the obvious reasons, there’s an added bonus attached as well. The two teams in NHL history with the highest points percentage in season openers just happen to be the Avalanche and Wild.
Season Openers: Highest Points Percentage, NHL History pic.twitter.com/NNdfdlsg34
— NHL Public Relations (@PR_NHL) October 7, 2015
An impressive statistic, one Colorado would love to take hold of, especially at the expense of the Wild.
Fast Start A Must
With last season starting off with two losses during a home and home series versus the Wild, the Avalanche will want some redemption, that is certain. With all the new faces coming in however, the team will need to stay calm and play smart hockey tonight.
Not only would this be a big victory to start the season against a division rival, it will also get that Wild monkey off Colorado’s back. Their slow start last year, coupled with record injuries ultimately deflated their season.
This year, starting tonight, the Avs must take advantage of this home opener to boost them into a nice start of this new era in Colorado.
Let the puck drop!
Sebastian Noble is currently in his third year with The Hockey Writers covering the Colorado Avalanche and Florida Panthers. Liverpool, England, and of course Colorado Avalanche & Florida Panthers supporter. You can follow him on Twitter @SebastianHNoble