1st Period: The first twenty minutes of the Avalanche's season were rather up and down, but very entertaining. The first minute was as bad as you could ask for, if you're a Colorado fan. Blake Comeau got called for a penalty half a minute in, and very quickly Tyler Seguin took advantage of the Dallas power play by cashing in on a goal from just outside the crease. Things weren't looking any brighter after Devin Shore got another goal for the Stars to make it 2-0 bad guys before they'd even played seven minutes of the game.
Things started to turn around thereafter, however, when new free agent addition Joe Colborne got a power play goal that was at first no goal, then a penalty shot, then officially a goal. How did it go in? Still not sure. Some Stars hit the puck, at some point it hit the shaft of Colborne's stick... all that matters is Colborne got the first goal of the season for Colorado. He would also get the second! And it came on the power play. MY GOD, THE AVS SCORE ON THE POWER PLAY NOW? And he got it by standing in front of the opposing goaltender. THE AVS SCREEN THE OPPOSING GOALTENDER NOW TOO??? JARED BEDNAR IS A MAGICIAN. Just remarkable. A fast-paced finish to the period from both teams didn't result in any more goals, but lots of excitement. To cap it all off, the Avs outshot the Stars 16-8. Effective power plays, screening the goalie, and outshooting the other team? Sorry Patrick Roy, I love you, but I don't miss you as head coach.
2nd Period: Somehow, there was even more pandemonium in this period than there was in the first. It got kicked off with Tyson Barrie feeding Carl Soderberg an absolutely gorgeous pass to put Carl on a breakaway, that he would finish off with no issues. A few minutes later, Nathan MacKinnon scored what will hopefully be the first of many for him this season rifling a shot past Antti Niemi following a face-off. And just when it seemed like Pepsi Center was at fever pitch, Joe Goal-Borne scored his first career hat trick in his first game as an Avalanche. All stemmed from a shot at the blue line by Nikita Zadorov, and that led to a 5-2 Colorado lead that made life seem impossibly happy.
Dallas and their well-oiled offensive machine struck back though. Goals from Dallas' two superstars Jamie Benn and Tyler Seguin brought the game back to a one-goal deficit at 5-4, setting the stage for an exciting third period with one daunting question in the Avs' mind. After a season full of blown third period leads, would they get off on the right foot this season, hold on, get two points, and keep Dallas from getting any?
3rd Period: The answer to that question was, thankfully, a firm yes. Tyson Barrie provided an insurance goal with six minutes left that would turn out to be the game-winner after Brett Ritchie scored for Dallas to make it a 6-5 game. Blake Comeau took a late penalty that gave the Stars a two-man advantage in the final minutes of the game, but Colorado withstood the Stars' offensive power and got off to the best start they could tonight. Two points, zero for a division rival in Dallas, and a lot to be proud of and excited for as we get this #NextEra off and running.
Mr. Fish's Three Sardines:
#3: Nathan MacKinnon: Lot of pressure on Nate to perform this season, and he's off to a solid start. He got the Avs' fourth goal of the night and was very easy to spot on the ice in terms of his playmaking and new and improved physical play. He looked every bit like the superstar the Avalanche need him to be tonight.
#2: Tyson Barrie: Highly recommend you go watch this goal where Barrie set up Soderberg for the goal that gave Colorado the lead tonight. That is about as good a setup play as you'll see anyone in this league make. Throw the game-winning goal on top of that, and no catastrophic defensive errors that have plagued Tyson in the past, and you have to love what you saw out of him tonight.
#1: Joe Colborne: I mentioned in my article predicting the players' point totals this season that Colborne would have a sneaky solid season. I made that statement based off the 19 goals he had for the Flames last year. Now, he has 81 games to score 16 just to tie that after his hat trick tonight. Hard to imagine a better debut game for the Denver Pioneer. Keep that up, Joe, and you'll be the greatest free agent signing in Avalanche history.
Mr. Fish's Three Flounders:
#3: Fedor Tyutin: I wasn't in love with what I saw from the former Blue Jacket tonight. Granted, it's only one game, and he got better as the game progressed, but I wouldn't mind seeing Eric Gelinas in his place on Monday night at Pittsburgh.
#2: Semyon Varlamov: Some defensive mistakes or not, Varly can't be giving up five goals a game. Yes, Dallas is loaded on offense and is a team built to score. That doesn't mean tonight's performance from Varlamov isn't at all concerning. Colorado won't score six goals every game this season. We'll need our goaltender to be a lot better than that as we advance into the season.
#1: Blake Comeau: A couple of dumb penalties from one of the Avs' veteran leaders tonight. The first of which put the Avs in an early hole and gave out bad vibes that this could be a rough season. I didn't appreciate that, and he worried me at the end with the penalty he took with two minutes left. Can't be doing that, Blake. You know better.
To sum up the multitude of Avs' scoring tonight, here's the breakdown of everyone from Colorado who accumulated points tonight:
Joe Colborne with 3, Nathan MacKinnon, Tyson Barrie, and Francois Beauchemin with 2, Carl Soderberg, Mikhail Grigorenko, Nikita Zadorov, Blake Comeau, and Erik Johnson with 1.
Great stuff. Let's hope they keep it up against the reigning Cup champions in Pittsburgh on Monday.