So, 12 games have gone by so far in the 2016-17 season. It’s not insubstantial. In fact, as we discussed yesterday, it’s a healthy enough chunk of the season that we can start seeing some statistical trends. But more importantly, it’s also early and there is a ton of meaningful hockey left to be played—including tonight when they welcome the 7-7-1 Winnipeg Jets to the Pepsi Center.
The Jets have won their last two contest, one being an 8-2 boot stomping against Dallas on Tuesday and the other a 3-2 squeaker against that Arizona Coyotes team Colorado can’t seem to beat. So far, they’re tied for third in the Central Division with the Minnesota Wild at 15 points.
Who plays for them, you ask? Well, Mark Scheifele does. He has 19 points in 15 games—nine goals and 10 assists. They also feature a young Finnish rookie you may have heard of, Patrik Laine, one who should be playing in Columbus right now if they had a lick of sense. He has 16 points this year with 11 goals, a product of not one, but two freaking hats tricks in his young career. In fact, the Avalanche were one of the few teams so far this year to keep him off the scoreboard when they played last on October 28th. My take is he was intimidated playing opposite of his World Junior Championship team captain, Mikko Rantanen.
The Avalanche will continue to shuffle up their lines a bit to find any possibility of goal scoring. This drought has been brutal and three or four or five goals tonight would go a long way toward getting this team back on track. By the same token, so would some actual goaltending. Semyon Varlamov, who has been brutal to start the season, will get the start again and the Avalanche really need him to return to the player he was during the preseason. Right now it looks like he can’t perform without a Collapse-O-rama(tm) plugging the slot and that just won’t fly with the team’s new system.
Puck drops at 7:00 PM mountain standard time. Make it happen, Avs!