Mikkel Boedker had his best game in a Colorado Avalanche uniform, scoring two goals and nearly a third. The Avalanche put away a Vancouver team that had given them fits the previous two matchups with a solid all-around performance to build on.
The Avalanche came out firing in the 1st Period, but watched as Ryan Miller began where he left off in the previous matchup -- saving everything in sight. Nathan MacKinnon would see the first great opportunity of the game when he skated to the right side of the net on a rush and tried to tap in a cross-ice saucer pass. The television crew thought it was in and I'd wager a good amount of the audience did too, because that's as generous of a scoring opportunity as you'll get in the NHL. Unfortunately, replay showed the puck hitting the near post, hitting the far post, and then falling precariously just on the wrong side of the goal line before being covered. MacKinnon couldn't believe it and neither could I.
Despite the early barrage of shots, it would be the Canucks to strike first on an odd scramble in the Avs' zone after a faceoff. The puck slid back to Vancouver's defense and rookie Nikita Tryamkin ripped a shot at the net. The rebound bounced to Daniel Sedin, whose shot rebounded to Henrik Sedin, who buried his eleventh goal of the season (Video). The play would give Tryamkin his first career NHL point.
But the Avs would tie the game just a minute later following a brilliant defensive play by Matt Duchene. After pinching along the boards and stealing the puck, he skated low and attempted to set up Jarome Iginla in front of the net. But when his stick got tied up, the puck slid to the other side of the net right for a wide-open shot for a streaking Mikkel Boedker, who had just come off the bench (Video).
After 18 shots for the Avs and 10 shots for the Canucks in the 1st Period, the 2nd would slow down considerably. Vancouver would get one power play opportunity on a Francois Beauchemin hooking penalty, but ultimately only nine shots on goal would be recorded by each team resulting in no additional score.
Fortunately, Boedker start things up again just 37 seconds into the 3rd. MacKinnon stopped a center ice pass and Boedker wheeled around a helpless Ben Hutton to get an open look at the net and beat goalie Ryan Miller for his second goal on the night (Video) -- his third in an Avalanche uniform since being traded from Arizona.
Andreas Martinsen would increase the lead five minutes later with a great play of his own. After keeping a puck in the zone along the boards, he skated low and received a pass from Shawn Matthias. He then juked Linden Vey out of his breezers and roofed the puck past Miller to make it 3-1 (Video).
And that's all she wrote. Colorado would sit back a bit in the 3rd with the two-goal lead, but Varlamov had the game well in hand. The victory puts the Avs back ahead of Minnesota for the final Wild Card spot in the Western Conference. They will now head to Calgary to play the Flames on Friday night.
- Mikkel Boedker - Easy choice here. Skated like the wind tonight and buried two goal in an important win for his new team. All the talk last week about him not bringing the production on the scoreboard should quiet down a bit.
- Andreas Martinsen - His goal tonight was as impressive as they come. He's had his ups and downs this season, but how happy do Avs fans have to be when a guy with this kind of ability is the reserve option? The Norwegian Legion has stepped up his game in the absence of Gabe Landeskog and it's fun to watch.
Erik Johnson - He and defensive partner Francois Beauchemin were both a team-leading Plus-9 CF 5v5 tonight. They've had a rough go as of late, but playing just 23:31 and 20:52 should help both of these guys be more productive. We got Johnson's A-game tonight, and the Avs will need it a whole lot more down the stretch. Honorable mention for Eric Gelinas, who also played his best game in an Avs' uniform. The third pairing was really effective tonight and he was a big reason why.
- Tyson Barrie - It's rare when the Avs play well and Barrie doesn't, so maybe this is a positive sign, but he was fairly bad tonight. On defense, running the power play -- none of it really worked, and the stats show it. Minus-18 tonight CF 5v5 on a night shots were pretty even for both teams. Woof.
- Nick Holden - The guy Barrie plays with deserves just as much blame. Minus-15 CF 5v5 himself and couldn't connect an outlet pass to save his life. This pairing got the top minutes tonight and didn't exactly deserve it.
Sedin Twins - Just damn you guys. Stop it, already.