After a watching a dismal power play during the previous four-game home stand, Avalanche fans saw their team find their 5-on-4 scoring touch tonight early and often, taking a three-goal lead in the 2nd and hanging on for dear life for the remainder.
The early going consisted of quite a bit of back-and-forth. But midway through the 1st, Andreas Martinsen got the game into gear with a great play. Not shooting, passing, or skating mind you -- but with his face. Mark Borowiecki got a little careless with his stick and struck the big Norwegian in the money maker. And then, not only did he collapse to the ice holding his face drawing a minor penalty, but he discharged blood, drawing an additional two minute minor for his Avalanche ("atta boy!"). This would prove important in the coming moments, because Colorado would control the puck the entire first two minutes in Ottawa's zone and get off plenty of quality shots, but they would ultimately fail to score. The second two minutes, however, would be a different story. After getting stopped by a couple of times from the left circle by Senators goalie Andrew Hammond, Jarome Iginla finally squeezed on by at the 10:44 mark to put the Avs up 1-0 (Video).
Two-and-a-half minutes into the 2nd, Nathan MacKinnon would get on the scoreboard himself on a power play, induced by a Patrick Wiercioch holding penalty on Matt Duchene. The Avs got a 4-on-2 in the Senators' zone with the man-advantage during a bad change, and Carl Soderberg dropped it behind to MacKinnon in the high slot, who ripped a beautiful wrist shot into the net for his 19th goal of the year (Video). Not satisfied with just getting his face bashed by sticks, Andreas Martinsen drew a holding penalty on Erik Karlsson not five minutes later, putting the Avs on the power play for a third time. Jarome Iginla would strike again, this time on a clean one-timer from the left circle -- his third point of the night and 15th goal on the season (Video). Colorado, now up 3-0, would then cease to attempt anything resembling a controlled breakout for the remainder of the game, instead ducking inside its favorite turtle shell fortress. As a result, they would be allow consecutive goals to Ottawa, both on power plays themselves (if you weren't counting that's five in the game), one to Mark Stone (Video) and the other Mike Hoffman with eight freaking seconds left in the 2nd Period (Video).
The Avalanche, now further fortified in said shell, buckled down a bit more in the 3rd, keeping the Senators at bay until they pulled Hammond for an extra attacker. Carl Soderberg stole the puck and shot it toward an empty net, missing wide left; but instead of Ottawa racing back and retrieving the puck for an easy icing, Blake Comeau beat them all to the punch and made it 4-2 with just 1:04 remaining (Video). Ah! Time to relax and do a couple of victory laps, right? Wrong. Chris Neil came right back and scored on a wide open play in the slot to cut the lead again to one with 26 seconds left (Video). The scoring would thankfully end there, none too soon.
Colorado begins their road trip 1-0-0 and will play Red Wings tomorrow night in Detroit.