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Avalanche Defeats Knights 5-3 For First Preseason Win

Goaltender Pavel Francouz picks up the win in North American debut

by Ron Knabenbauer @RonKnab /

The Colorado Avalanche picked up its first win of the preseason on Monday night with a 5-3 victory over the Vegas Golden Knights at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Colorado delivered the Golden Knights their first loss of the exhibition season after holding off a third-period rally. Jake Bischoff and Brad Hunt scored in the first 10:19 of the final frame for Vegas, but Avs goaltender Pavel Francouz didn't allow another shot to get past him in his NHL preseason debut.

Francouz, who was the Kontinental Hockey League's best goaltender in 2017-18 and signed with the Avalanche as a free agent in the offseason, stopped 29-of-32 shots in his first-ever professional game in North America. The Czech netminder also backstopped his home country at the 2018 Olympics and IIHF World Championship.

"It was amazing. The game started pretty good. We scored on the first shot so we kept feeling confident," said Francouz afterward. "The end was a little nerve-wracking, but we made it as a team. I think it's a big win for us."

The Avs improved to 1-2-0 in the preseason after getting goal support from five different players. J.T. Compher scored just 1:01 into the game, while Carl Soderberg, Sheldon Dries, Scott Kosmachuk and Vladislav Kamenev also recorded their first markers in the exhibition schedule.

Both clubs went 1-for-3 on the power play, with Soderberg getting credit for Colorado's man-advantage goal at 10:47 of the first. The Golden Knights' Hunt tallied with the extra man midway through the third period, but last season's Stanley Cup runners-up weren't able to get the score back to even as Francouz finished with 10 saves in the stanza.

Vladislav Kamenev scored into an empty net with 1:05 left for the Avalanche's fifth and final goal of the evening.

Despite being outshot 9-7 in the first period, the Avs led 2-0 going into the intermission and held that advantage until Max Pacioretty recorded his first (preseason) goal with Vegas at 10:47 of the middle stanza.

Dries gave Colorado back a two-goal lead 1:13 later, and Scott Kosmachuk tallied at 4:36 of the third period to push the advantage to 4-1.

Martin Kaut, Ryan Graves, Alexander Kerfoot, Samuel Girard, Mark Alt, Logan O'Connor, A.J. Greer and Dominic Toninato had assists in the contest for the Avalanche.

Vegas goalie Malcom Subban was saddled with the loss after making 23 saves. The Golden Knights finished with a 32-28 edge in shots on goal.

Colorado is now on the back half of its six-outing preseason schedule and will play its final three games over the next five days. The Avalanche hosts the Dallas Stars at Pepsi Center on Wednesday night.

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