Oct 13, 2021 - Sports
Colorado Avalanche face high expectations as season starts
Head coach Jared Bednar of the Colorado Avalanche watches as his team plays a preseason game. Photo: Matthew Stockman/Getty Images
Head coach Jared Bednar of the Colorado Avalanche watches as his team plays a preseason game. Photo: Matthew Stockman/Getty Images

The Colorado Avalanche take the ice tonight for the season opener with big expectations to contend for the title.

State of play: The team — partially remade after last season's second-round playoff loss — is one of three with the greatest chance to win the Stanley Cup, according to FiveThirtyEight's forecast.

  • The Avalanche have a 12% chance of winning the title and a 22% chance of making the finals.
  • The other two teams atop the list are the Tampa Bay Lightning, the defending champions, and the Las Vegas Golden Knights, the team that knocked the Avalanche from last season's playoffs.

What to watch: Colorado's scoring — led by star forwards Nathan MacKinnon and Mikko Rantanen — topped the league last season, but worries abound about whether other Avs can contribute enough goals.

  • The defense ranked in the top three in the league but must stay healthy, particularly playmaker Cale Makar, after being plagued with injuries last season.
  • A new goaltender will take the net. The Avalanche acquired Darcy Kuemper from the Arizona Coyotes this summer. Kuemper will split time with Pavel Francouz, who missed last season with an injury.

📺 Of note: The home opener against the Chicago Blackhawks will air on TNT, but most local games will be blacked out because Altitude TV still can't reach a deal with Comcast or the Dish Network to show the games, 9News reports.

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