This is my first shot at a recap, so thanks for reading! Tonight the boys in Burgundy and Blue (9-11-6) complete a back-to-back Canadian set, taking on the Winnipeg Jets, who enter tonight's contest with 30 points from 26 games. Time to drop the puck.
Didn't take long for the returning (to the blue line, that is) Dustin Byfuglien to make his impact, decking Nick Holden as he was trying to rush up the ice less than a minute into the game. Soon after Karl Stollery trips up Evander Kane, and his momentum carrying into the boards drew the two minute minor. The Avs PK was up to the task, denying the Jets any scoring chance whatsoever.
The Landeskog-MacKinnon-Igninla line gets a nice bit of possession, but Jets goalie Michael Hutchinson covered the puck as Iggy couldn’t make solid contact in front.
Jets announcer points out the team has scored the first goal in seven straight games. Despite the reverse-jinx potential here, it would indeed be eight.
Winnipeg gets the zone easily (go figure), Paul Postma takes a seemingly innocent shot from the blue line that was saved by Varly, but Chris Thorburn was left completely unmarked in front of the net and had a perfect rebound opportunity, which he converted for his first goal of the season and just the 37th in 549 career games. 1-0 Jets with 15:29 left in the period.
More Jets possession following the goal. Holden is careless and a Jets forward gains the zone despite being outmanned 1-on-3. Mathieu Perreault gets a chance on a redirect but Varly makes the save. An entire sequence that turned dangerous because of a certain No. 2.
After the first TV timeout, we are greeted by a woman playing a Price is Right plinko game with the goal being to put the puck-shaped item into the net in the center. The woman playing wasn't even close, with the circle landing on the far right side of the board. You failed miserably.
We are then greeted with the shot total, which is 8-0 to the Jets. Yup.
Winnipeg continues to control possession and there appears to be no threat on its own cage. BUT WAIT! Out of nothing comes a goal for the Avs.
The second shot of the game for Colorado goes in with 10:41 left in the period. After a takeaway in the Colorado zone, Landeskog fires a pass from center ice to Iggy at the blue line. Iggy then fires a bullet into the top corner of the goal. 1-1 at the halfway point of the period. Was nice to see the team effectively use speed on the quick breakout.
More pressure from Winnipeg, Varly makes a great double save after Holden can't deal with a clearing attempt. Varly appears makes a stunning save on Bryan Little after a beautiful cross ice pass from Blake Wheeler. But turning the TV timeout, the play was reviewed as the puck crossed the line before Varly could get to the puck, and Little gets a goal. 2-1 to the Jets with 7:31 left in the period.
Hutchinson makes a nice glove save on
Eric Erik (Oops that was a close one) Johnson. Wheeler then gets a shot off that deflects onto the crossbar and high. This has 6-1 written all over it.
More pressure over next few minutes, Varly is called upon to make a couple of saves, including one on Byfuglein after all five players on the ice drift away from him with him possessing the puck on the blue as if to say, "F that, I'm not getting near that shot." Byfuglein goes hunting again and a retaliation by Landeskog draws a 2-minute minor with 11 seconds left in the period. Varly has to make a pair of saves at the buzzer and enter the locker room down 2-1. Byfuglein is such a difference maker at the blue line. Shots at this point are 16-4 Jets.
Winnipeg still has almost the entirety of a power play to start the period. It takes about 30-45 seconds for the Jets to get set up; Jacob Trouba and Kane each get a chance but don't convert and the Avs kill off the penalty.
An unbelievable pass by Iggy to MacKinnon sends him on a breakaway, but Mack's shot is deflected off Hutchinson's stick. Winnipeg responds immediately with a 2-on-1 chance, but Andrew Ladd and Cody McLeod take matching minors and we get some 4-on-4 hockey.
Matt Duchene immediately turns on the jets, weaving around Trouba before closing on on Hutchinson. Unfortunately his momentum can't be halted, and Duchene is sent to the sin bin for goalie interference.
The Jets get a 4-on-3 power play for about 1:40 that felt like five minutes for the Avs. Winnipeg parked it in the Avs zone (after an offside that should have been called) and had chance after chance. Strangely Byfuglien passes up on a shot from the point about six times, instead creating chances for his teammates.
Winnipeg keeps the "momentum" up after the power play and almost get a third. Shots are 21-6 at this point. MacKinnon fires wide after creating some space at the other end but chances for the Avs are few and far between.
More chances for Winnipeg. Stuart gets a chance in the slot with about 6:30 left in the period, but Varly makes a nice save and then denies Anthony Peluso from getting a rebound chance.
The Avs finally get the zone for more than three seconds, Guenin gets a shot off that's easily dealt with by Hutchison. A turnover at the blue lane allows Kane to walk in, but the chance goes begging.
The Avs get some more time in the Jets' zone, Johnson's shot saved from the blue line with two minutes left in the period. The Jets then get a 3-on-1 after a blunder by Stollery following a faceoff in the OFFENSIVE ZONE, but Kane blows the chance with a poor shot.
Winnipeg then wins a faceoff in the offensive zone, Ben Chiarot takes a shot from the point that Andrew Ladd gets a stick on to redirect past Varly with 44 seconds left in the period. 3-1 Winnipeg after two periods. Shots are 26-9 Ouch.
Up until this point, you wouldn't know that the Jets were down a few important contributors to their defense. The unit hasn't had to do a ton given how much they've possessed the puck, but whenever the Avs had the puck the defense has stuck to the skaters like glue.
The period starts off perfectly for the Jets, as Wheeler steamrolls through the Avs defense along the boards, gets a lane to find Little for his second goal of the game.
Little gets his hat trick (the first at the MTS center at the NHL level, good for them) just 32 seconds later after some horrid defending around Varly's cage. 5-1. Varly gets the hook for Berra.
The announcer rolls off the injuries for the Avalanche, beginning with Patrick Bordeleau. Crickets.
Colorado gets back-to-back power plays early in the period, but can't convert. The chances are interrupted by some goonery by Cody McLeod, which starts a rink-wide scuffle. The fighting ends up in a 5-on-3 for the Avs, with Roy pulling Berra for a rare 6-on-3 situation for more than a minute. It was actually 6-on-2 for a moment as Byfuglein lost his stick and had to retreat to the bench. You think that would solve the woeful power play. LOL yeah right.
Winnipeg survives the wild sequence without conceding and the crowd goes wild.
More scuffling. Please stop.
The Avs get a power play after the latest fighting, and finally cash in. Great play by Zach Redmond, who somehow has the vision to center the puck despite pressure. Iginla gets the tap-in to pull the Avs to within 5-2.
Colorado builds off the goal behind sustained pressure with O'Reilly and Iginla at the forefront. Hutchinson makes a nice save on Tanguay and the Jets are back where they've been for the entire game.
Byfuglien saves the puck from leaving the zone and blasts a shot that deflects off a stick or two and into the net. 6-2 with less than seven minutes left.
The nightmare is finally over. The Avs fall 6-2 in pretty embarrassing fashion. The Jets thoroughly deserved that.
MHH Three Stars
No shot after a performance after that.
Takeaway: Nothing in particular, really. The back-to-back is a convenient excuse, but the Avs were a step behind all night and couldn't get anything going. It's almost like half the team are AHL players that play a step behind consistently. The team has now played 27 games and won nine of them. Ouch. They are what they are.
A couple of much-needed rest days before hosting the Preds on Tuesday.