Yesterday, the Colorado Avalanche jumped out to a great start in the first leg of the NHL Global Series in Stockholm, Sweden against the Ottawa Senators. The Avs carried the play through most of the first period, outshooting the Sens, but then the wheels fell off a bit. The Avalanche only had three shots in the second period and eight total through the second, third and overtime periods.
The Avalanche were very lucky to escape the game with a point for the loss in overtime.
On the plus side, the top line the top line was flying all game and Samuel Girard looked outstanding in his Avs debut.
Now the rest of the team needs to step up to ensure they leave Sweden with a split.
Yesterday, the Avs fell prey to Guy Boucher’s 1-3-1 trap as they were unable to generate anything closed to sustained pressure after the first period. The top line of MacKinnon, Rantanen and Landeskog was very dangerous and created most of the team’s offensive chances.
The best part of the game last night is that Samuel Girard looks to be the real deal. It was only one game, but the young defenseman that was the centerpiece to the Matt Duchene trade looked dynamic almost every time he touched the puck. He is an incredible skater and worries of ‘defensive deficiency’ because of his size shouldn’t be taken too seriously. He looked fine in his own end and led the team’s defensemen in shot attempt +/-.
The forward group will remain the same for today’s game, but Andrei Mironov is going to draw into the lineup for Nikita Zadorov - making it another game in the press box for big Z.
Gabriel Landeskog - Nathan MacKinnon - Mikko Rantanen
Sven Andrighetto - Alexander Kerfoot - Nail Yakupov
Matt Nieto - J.T. Compher - Blake Comeau
Gabriel Bourque - Colin Wilson - Rocco Grimaldi
Mark Barberio - Erik Johnson
Samuel Girard - Tyson Barrie
Andrei Mironov - Chris Bigras
In his first game with the new team, Matt Duchene didn’t look totally out of place, but he didn’t exactly look comfortable either. You could tell he was trying to get used to the much different system that the Senators play. He played just over 16 minutes and was able to generate two shots on net, while making a couple really good defensive plays.
As expected, Mark Stone did the heavy lifting for the Sens as he continues to be one of the more unheralded stars in the league. His line is the one that drives the team’s offense and the Sens are going to have to do a better job of checking them.
The Senators are the home team today, so Guy Boucher will have the last chance and the ability to keep his top line away from Erik Johnson a lot more than yesterday.
Zach Smith suffered a broken thumb and will be out for three weeks. That will give Nick Paul the chance to move up to Matt Duchene’s wing as the Sens go with only 11 forwards.
Nick Paul - Matt Duchene - Mike Hoffman
Chris DiDomenico - Nate Thompson
Fredrik Claesson - Erik Karlsson
Dion Phaneuf - Johnny Oduya
Jonathan Bernier is going to be between the pipes for the Avalanche today. Bernier enters the game with a 2-3-0 record and .884 sv%. He’ll be looking to bounce back after a few rough starts.
Since the team has another four days off, there was a chance we’d see Varlamov again today, but Bednar seems hell-bent on making sure his number one goalie gets the rest necessary to stay healthy.
For the Senators, Mike Condon will get the start in net. Condon has a 1-0-2 record this season posting a .924sv%.
How to watch
The game starts at 1 pm Eastern, 11 Mountain and will be broadcast on NHL Network as well as Altitude. It can be seen nationally on Sportsnet for fans in Canada.
For those of you stuck at work, you can also listen to the game with our friend Marc Moser on Altitude Sports Radio 950AM