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Francouz Earns Win in First NHL Start

The goaltender made 34 saves to earn his first win in the National Hockey League

by Callie Parmele @CallieParmele /

Saturday night was a night to remember for Colorado Avalanche goaltender Pavel Francouz.

Francouz made his first start in the National Hockey League and earned his first win in the league, stopping 34 shots against the Arizona Coyotes at Pepsi Center. He became the first Avalanche goaltender to earn the victory in his first career start in the league since Vitaly Kolesnik on Dec. 7, 2005 against the Boston Bruins.

The Plzen, Czech Republic, native also became the fourth Avalanche netminder since the franchise relocated from Quebec to have accomplished the feat as Peter Budaj (Oct. 8, 2005 at the Dallas Stars) and David Aebischer (Oct. 18, 2000 at Columbus) also did so.

"It's been great, I was dreaming about a moment like this my whole life, and I was just trying to enjoy every second of that," said Francouz. "I was really happy that it worked out, and we were able to win this game.

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Compher Siblings Bonded Through Love of Hockey

J.T. Compher and sister Jesse trained together during the offseason

by Callie Parmele @CallieParmele /

Coming off a year in which he posted a career-high 32 points, Colorado Avalanche forward J.T. Compher had a new training partner at home this summer--his younger sister Jesse.

J.T. spent the 2019 offseason in his native Northbrook, Illinois, which allowed him to prepare for his fourth professional season with Jesse, who was getting ready for her junior caampaign at Boston University.

"It was the first full summer of training together. We weren't in the gym together every day, but a lot. She had surgery earlier in the summer, so she was working to get back," said J.T. "Definitely got to spend a lot more time together because I was at home in Chicago, and she was working her tail off."

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New Look Avs

Colorado upgraded its roster depth with several moves in the offseason

by Ron Knabenbauer @RonKnab /

A version of the following story appeared in the 2019-20 first edition of AVALANCHE, the official game magazine of the Colorado Avalanche Hockey Club. For more feature stories, purchase a copy of the magazine during Avs home games at Pepsi Center. All proceeds from game-magazine sales support youth hockey associations in Colorado.

It wasn't a full makeover, but this season's Colorado Avalanche looks significantly different than its previous iteration.

Being young and playing fast are still characteristics of the franchise, but the team bolstered its depth in the offseason to become a more well-rounded squad. Adding players with offensive skill but also a little grit to their games were priorities for general manager Joe Sakic over the summer, and he accomplished that with the addition of several new skaters.

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Division Rivalry: Minnesota Wild

Avalanche and Wild have been in the same division since 2000

by Zach Shapiro /

Joe Sakic netted the first goal in a matchup that's seen more than 100 games since the inaugural meeting on Nov. 7, 2000 when the Colorado Avalanche shut out the expansion Minnesota Wild 2-0 in Denver.

The Avalanche went on to win its second Stanley Cup that year, but the banner wasn't the only legacy to emerge from the 2000-01 season. A new rivalry had been born--even if it took the Wild six tries to get in the win column. 

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Kadri Happy With Avalanche Debut

Forward reflects on his season opener in Colorado

by Ron Knabenbauer @RonKnab /

CENTENNIAL, Colo.--As far as new team debuts go, Nazem Kadri was overall pleased with how his first game with the Colorado Avalanche went.

The Avs' new second-line center played 17:17, won 12-of-21 faceoffs (57 percent), had three shots on goal and nine shot attempts on Thursday night in the 2019-20 season opener. He also nearly potted his first goal in burgundy and blue just five minutes into the new season, but his shot rang off the crossbar as he was falling to the ice.

"That one kept me up last night," Kadri said with a laugh to on the goal that never was. "I know every single game I'm going to get my opportunities, just caught a little off balance there. I don't know quite know how I missed that one, but maybe midseason it might have been a little bit different."

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Avalanche Finns Productive to Open Campaign

Donskoi, Rantanen tally twice in season opener

by Callie Parmele @CallieParmele /

The Colorado Avalanche had not one, but two skaters that opened the 2019-20 season with multi-goal performances.

Mikko Rantanen and Joonas Donskoi, each scored twice as the Avalanche began the new campaign with a 5-3 victory versus the Calgary Flames at Pepsi Center on Thursday.

It was Rantanen's ninth regular-season, multi-goal game of his career and marked the seventh time that Donskoi had accomplished the feat.

Thursday's outing was also the first time that both of Colorado's Finnish players, Rantanen (Nousiainen) and Donskoi (Raahe), were on the ice together in Avalanche sweaters. Moreover, it was Donskoi's first contest with the Avs after he signed a four-year deal with the club on July 1 after spending his first four NHL seasons with the San Jose Sharks.

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Timmins Earns a Spot on Avalanche Opening-Night Roster

The defenseman missed entire 2018-19 season with injury

by Callie Parmele @Avalanche /

Conor Timmins has come a long way in his journey to play professional hockey.

The defenseman has spent the past year and a half recovering from a head injury that he sustained during the 2018 Ontario Hockey League Playoffs, and he has battled through adversity to earn a spot on the Colorado Avalanche's opening night roster for the 2019-20 season.

"Obviously I was pretty excited," Timmins said of when he learned he was on the Avs' 23-man active roster. "I dreamed of this my whole life, so I am definitely really excited to be here and hopefully help this team win a championship."

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Sakic: 2019-20 Season Won't Be Easy

Avalanche aims for strong season and long spring

by Ron Knabenbauer @RonKnab /

It's a long time until April, May and June, but playing hockey well into the springtime is the goal for the Colorado Avalanche heading into the 2019-20 season.

Executive vice president/general manager Joe Sakic held his annual pre-season media availability on Wednesday morning at Pepsi Center, and the former player turned Avs top boss says the expectation for the club is to have a strong regular season to help give itself the best chance at winning the Stanley Cup come playoff time.

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Getting To Know: Pierre-Edouard Bellemare

Forward joined Colorado in the offseason

by Zach Shapiro /

Pierre-Édouard Bellemare signed with the Colorado Avalanche on July 1, joining an organization he thought he could not only compete for a Stanley Cup with but that would also continue develop him as a player. His profession has taken him to a lot of places--from France to Sweden to the United States--but Colorado presented a unique chance to sharpen his skills and play alongside some of the top talents in the game. 

Bellemare, 34, came to the NHL as a mature player at the age of 29. After beginning his career in his native France, he played in Sweden's top professional league from 2009-2014, picking up another language along the way. He eventually signed with the Philadelphia Flyers as a free agent in 2014-15 and notched 12 points (six goals, six assists) in 81 appearances during his "rookie year." 

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NHL Stats Season Preview: Avalanche

A look at the club heading into the 2019-20 campaign

by National Hockey League @NHL /

The Avalanche will look to clinch three consecutive berths in the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the first time since an 11-season run from 1994-95 to 2005-06. Additionally, Colorado has reached 90 standings points in each of the past two seasons - the last time they reached the 90-point mark in three or more consecutive seasons was a 12-season stretch from 1995-96 to 2007-08.

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