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Avs Look to Carry Momentum Into Third Preseason Game

by Nicole Morris / ColoradoAvalanche.com

DENVER--The Colorado Avalanche is 2-0-0 in its first two preseason matches after picking up wins over the Minnesota Wild and Dallas Stars. The Avs host the Los Angeles Kings in their second home exhibition contest and third overall at 7 p.m. MT on Friday night at Pepsi Center.

The Avalanche started the game strong on Wednesday night against the Stars, getting on the board early before falling behind 2-1 in the second period. Colorado rallied in the third, scoring three unanswered goals to earn its second win in preseason play.

"The exhibition is really for evaluation," said head coach Jared Bednar on Thursday. "We have a lot of players here that I'm trying to get to know and for us evaluate what their strengths are, weaknesses and where they fit in with this group this year. [It's] not what they did in years past or last year or where they were before."

Video: Coach Bednar discusses the preseason lineup vs. Kings

A balanced offense has been key to the team's victories, as the Avs have outscored their opponents 8-3. The club has also been aggressive on penalty kills, going 9-for-9 in the games thus far.

The Avs are looking to enter Friday's carrying the same momentum.

Ben Smith is one player that has made a statement for himself early this preseason. He's tallied third-period goals in each game he's played, including the game-winning goal in Wednesday's win. 

According to Bednar, defenseman Erik Johnson, forward Nathan MacKinnon and goalie Semyon Varlamov are all expected to play Friday, skating in their first match since returning from the World Cup of Hockey.

As the Avs near the midway point of the preseason, Bednar admitted that he and his staff are still finalizing the roster. As such, the head coach wants his players to focus on being competitive and on playing with energy for the entire game.

"Ice time and positions, they're earned daily," said Bednar. "If you are going to be the team you want to be, there has to be an internal push for ice time, and that's where we are evaluating."

The Avalanche is 35-37-4-5 in regular-season play versus the Kings. L.A. is 2-1-0 in the preseason after wins over Arizona and Anaheim. 

Tickets to the game are still available. Fans can listen to the radio broadcast of the contest on Altitude Sports Radio AM 950 or online at ColoradoAvalanche.com.

GAME NOTES

 

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