The Colorado Avalanche got lucky this evening when it was learned that Ryan Getzlaf would be out of the lineup for the Ducks. That luck ran out mid-way through the first period when Nathan MacKinnon took a stick blade to the eye - it was a very scary looking scene. After the game we found out Avs fans can breathe a sigh of relief as the injury proved to not be serious. Coach Bednar says that MacKinnon regained full vision in his eye and is going to be fine even though the stick blade got him directly in the eye.
The first period was rather lopsided in favor of Colorado thanks to five straight minor penalties for the Ducks. The Avs were only able to capitalize on one as Gabriel Landeskog scored his second of the season on a beautiful passing play by Mikko Rantanen and Sven Andrighetto.
With a much more morose feeling around the game, the second period started with former Avs netminder Reto Berra in goal to replace John Gibson. No word during the broadcast, but Gibson appeared to have a bandage on his left hand as the second period was starting.
The game fell into a little bit of a lull until Matt Nieto looked like he had given the Avs a 2-0 lead. The goal was called back thanks to goaltender interference as Blake Comeau drove through the crease and ever so slightly bumped Berra. The Avs dominated the second half of the period but more bad news came with seven minutes remaining before intermission. Mikko Rantanen left the ice in obvious discomfort and went straight to the Avs dressing room with the training staff.
Luckily Mikko was back for the start of the third, but unfortunately, the luck ended there. With Cam Fowler in the penalty box for slashing, Brandon Montour scored a short-handed goal
Another goal called back for goaltender interference with 11 minutes left. This one was a lot more questionable, as it looked like Korbinian Holzer pushed Alex Kerfoot into Berra as the shot was coming in. Unfortunately, Bednar had used his coaches challenge in the second period so the Avs were unable to have the play reviewed.
After peppering him with shots all period, the Avs finally broke through the Berra Wall when Tyson Barrie let go a rocket from the point on the powerplay. Barrie’s goal was his second of the season.
After some pressure from the Ducks - and great play from Bernier, the Avs sealed the deal as Nikita Zadorov floated a puck down the ice that went into the empty net with half a second left giving the team a 3-1 victory.
And in the post game, we got some incredible news:
- J.T. Compher getting PP time after MacKinnon left the game is an interesting move. It’s good to see him getting a little more responsibility.
- Patrik Nemeth continues to be a tower of strength on the Avs blueline providing sound shut down play on every shift while contributing on the second powerplay unit.
- Two games into the season and Jonathan Bernier still hasn’t allowed a goal at even strength.
- Matt Duchene played 21:18 - second only to Erik Johnson. He stepped up in a big way when MacKinnon left with the injury.
- It was mentioned on the Altitude broadcast that of the 713 players in the NHL to start the season, only 34 remain without a visor.
- This three-game win streak is already longer than any the team had last season.
- With two assists tonight, Sven Andrighetto now leads the team with 6 points through five games.
No rest for the wicked as the Avs will go straight to the airport to head to Dallas for a game against the Stars tomorrow night. Puck drop from the American Airline Center is scheduled for 6pm MST.
Tyson Jost is expected to miss that game as well. With MacKinnon being a huge question mark, we might see the Avs call up a forward before the game - unless they decide to go with a lineup of 11 forwards and 7 defenders.