Jim Montgomery should feel right at home in the high altitude of Denver tonight.
After all, he spent several seasons coaching Denver University’s men’s hockey team prior to taking the head coaching job with the Dallas Stars this summer. Familiar city, but new surroundings awaits as he enters Pepsi Center on the visitor side of the bench when his team takes on the Colorado Avalanche squad.
So far, Montgomery seems at home in Dallas. His team has a 3-0-1 record in the preseason so far, he has the respect and enthusiasm of his players, and there seems to be a palpable excitement around his team. The coaching staff all seem to be on the same page, and though the team has put in a ton of work this preseason and training camp, there has been fun too. (It has to be to make Julius Honka smile, right?)
Colorado has its own brand of optimism, given that the team made the playoffs last season in the second wild card spot. Expectations in Mile High City are to make the playoffs again this year and win a round, at the very least. But they’ve stumbled here in the preseason, going 1-2-0 and just picking up their first win against the Vegas Golden Knights in a 5-3 affair. That follows an absolute shellacking by the Minnesota Wild (7-0 loss) and a sound drubbing by the same Knights team (5-1).
In other words, they’ve kind of seen a little bit of everything this preseason so far.
Without many of their biggest names in the lineup, tonight’s contest is likely to be a close affair, as Dallas doesn’t always fair well in the higher altitude. Maybe Montgomery has a trick for battling that, too.
Devin Shore - Roope Hintz - Valeri Nichushkin
Denis Gurianov - Jason Dickinson - Tyler Pitlick
Remi Elie - Gemel Smith - Brett Ritchie
Michael Mersch - Justin Dowling - Erik Condra
Gavin Bayreuther - Roman Polak
Joel Hanley - Julius Honka
John Nyberg - Reece Scarlett
Ben Bishop is expected to play the full game.
Semyon Varlamov is the likely starter, with Pavel Francouz backing him up.
How To Watch/Listen
The Avalanche are not streaming this game anywhere, but will have a radio broadcast Altitude Sports Radio FM 92.5 in the Denver area. It appears you might be able to listen in here.
Puck drops at 8 PM CDT tonight.
Tyler Seguin is likely to play in the last two preseason games for Dallas after missing the last two and tonight’s contest. Stephen Johns is “hopeful” to play in the last preseason game on Sunday, but is likely to be ready for the home opener next week.