Heading into this game there was no doubt whatsoever that the last two games were unacceptable. Playoff team or not, you just cannot come out and get shutout by the last place Blue Jackets and then get absolutely dominated by the Penguins. How the Avs came out of the gate for this game would be absolutely vital to their success in this game.
They started off the game they way they wanted to as Jamie McGinn potted his first goal as a member of the Avalanche just 1:42 into the game. It was also the first time since the Avs 4-1 victory over the Ducks that an Avalanche forward scored a goal.
The early goal seemed to help the Avs gain some energy and settle down enabling them get into a rhythm early on. Semyon Varlamov also came up with a couple of very clutch saves; which he would continue to do the rest of the game including a huge stop on Dany Heatley in the third period to preserve his shutout bid.
With Darroll Powe in the box for holding, Jamie McGinn scored his second goal of the game just 16 seconds into the power play. It was his 14th goal of the season and would be more than enough offense tonight to seal the victory for the Avs.
One player that actually jumped out to me tonight was Paul Stastny. It's been no secret that I've been very critical of him lately and was actually glad to see him show up tonight. Especially since we are stuck with him for at least the rest of this season.
Gabriel Landeskog also had another great game for the Avs, continuing stellar play into March. He put 4 shots on net in just over 18 minutes of ice time. He continues to lead all rookies in shots on goal with 216 so far this season. He also leads all rookies in +/- as a +20 and is just two points behind Adam Henrique for the rookie scoring lead.
MHH Avalanche 3 Stars of the Night
- 1 Semyon Varlamov, 30 Saves for his 4th shutout of the year
- 2 Jamie McGinn, 2 Goals, Glad to see him getting on the scoresheet with his new team
- 3 Peter Mueller/Stefan Elliott, Both had 2 assists and played when the Avs needed them to step up.
- 1 Landeskog-O'Reilly-Olver
- 2 McGinn-Stastny-Jones
- 3 Connolly-Duchene-Mueller
- 4 McLeod-McClement-Hejduk <-------Really?! Was very shocked to see this.
- 1 Johnson-O'Brien
- 2 Hunwick-Elliott
- 3 Hejda-Wilson
- 1 Mike Connolly, who was part of the Jamie McGinn trade, was called up with Steve Downie out of the lineup with a shoulder injury
- 2 For the first time, I'm assuming, in his career, Milan Hejduk started the game on the fourth line.
- 3 It was the 41st time this season the Minnesota Wild gave up the first goal of a game.
NHL.com Recap & Highlights
The Wild will not take this loss lightly, as this was the second game in a row they've been shutout. The Wild will get their chance to get some revenge on Tuesday night as these teams will be right back at it on National TV. The NBC Sports Network team will be in Denver to call Tuesday night's game.