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Avs Close Out Preseason At Frozen Fury

by Heather Ward / ColoradoAvalanche.com

CENTENNIAL, Colo. - The Colorado Avalanche concludes its preseason slate with one final contest against the Los Angeles Kings tonight at 8 p.m. MT at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.

This is the second time the two clubs have met this preseason. The Avs skated past the Kings 3-1 on Sept. 30 in Colorado.

The undefeated Avalanche (5-0) is looking to maintain a perfect record with the hopes of continuing the momentum in the regular season.

"Successful camp is the way we look at it," Avalanche head coach Jared Bednar said. "We like the work that we've done. The results are great, but you are kind of looking at the big picture and what we're seeing from our team, and hopefully we're starting to come together a little bit."

With the final roster deadline approaching on Tuesday, this is the last opportunity for coaches to evaluate players and make last-minute decisions ahead of the home opener on Oct. 15 against the Dallas Stars.

Video: Coach Bednar's post-practice talk

"It's now the last exhibition, so our veteran guys need to start stepping up and getting more like what they'll look like come opening night," Bednar said. 

The intensity and competition level will be the closest to that of a regular season contest and should determine how prepared the team is for the 2016-17 campaign. This match will also be used to fine tune specific elements of the game and work out any kinks.

"We're going into every game with a purpose to get the results we're looking for," Bednar said. "I'm more excited about the work that we've put into practice and what we've been doing in some of those games. I feel like we're heading in the right direction."

The preparation for tonight's game is similar to the approach from the past few contests, and Bednar said he intends to use different line combinations and work on power-play execution.

The Kings are 3-4-0 in preseason after dropping a loss to the Dallas Stars on Friday, while the Avs are the only remaining team with a perfect exhibition record.

Video: Duncan Siemens talks Avs roster

"We expect a tough game. It's always loud and you get those rowdy L.A. fans driving in for the game," Matt Duchene said. "It feels like a regular season game, so it should be a good time. That game is always really competitive. It's the last one of the preseason for both teams."

Coming off a World Championship victory with Canada, Matt Duchene will be competing in his second preseason game. 

"I think for me, it's just another chance to play the new systems in a game situation and make those reads," Duchene said. "I'm sure there will be some mistakes, but that's part of the learning process.

"Guys are really paying attention. Guys are working hard, skating hard, and that's what it takes to play the system," Duchene said. "I think its been something that has been really positive for us. Obviously, our record shows it in the preseason. Guys are picking it up quick, and it's working for us."

Goaltenders Semyon Varlamov and Calvin Pickard have alternated starting in the net through the second half of preseason, and Varlamov is expected to start in the crease in Las Vegas. Varlamov helped the Avalanche secure a 2-0 win over Minnesota on Tuesday, stopping all 30 shots he faced. 

The puck drops 8 p.m. MT in Sin City. The game will be televised live on NHL Network and Fox Sports West, and fans can also listen to the radio call of the contest on Altitude Sports Radio AM 950 and at ColoradoAvalanche.com.

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