What a difference a little home cooking can do. Back from Sweden and with four days off, the Colorado Avalanche didn’t miss a beat as they jumped out to a quick lead and never looked back. The Washington Capitals went down 17 seconds into the game and were never able to get things going after that.
The team was led by Gabriel Landeskog’s first career hat-trick and a five-point night from Nathan Mackinnon. The top line was incredible all night long and seem to have found a chemistry that is turning them into one of the most dangerous lines in the NHL.
The Avs were very impressive against a good Capitals team and this game is exactly what they needed to help forget about the disappointing trip to Sweden.
Semyon Varlamov was great as usual and Nathan MacKinnon looks like he’s found another gear as he seems poised to prove to the hockey world that he belongs in the conversation as one of the elite offensive players in the league.
If Avs fans were worried about rust coming off of a four-day break, the captain put those worries to rest as he got the team out to a 1-0 lead with a goal, 17 seconds into the game.
Though the Avs played with the lead for the rest of the period, there was a little to be worried about as Alex Kerfoot left the bench midway through the first.
The Kerfoot injury led the coaches to double shift Nathan MacKinnon, and it paid off as he scored a huge goal with only 7 seconds left in the period to extend the lead for the Avs going into the intermission. The goal was Mackinnon’s 6th of the season and second point of the night.
Luckily for the team, Alex Kerfoot returned to the lineup at the start of the second period.
The good news didn’t last long as Vladislav Kamenev took a huge hit from Brooks Orpik. He went straight to the Avs dressing room, butting the team down to only 10 forwards.
A few minutes later, after a big penalty kill, the Avs were able to push the lead to 3-0 as Colin Wilson scored his first goal as an Avalanche after a great setup by Mikko Rantanen. Another assist from MacKinnon making it his third of the game.
Unfortunately, Varlamov had his shutout ended very late in the second as Brett Connoly scored to cut the lead to 3-1.
Just a minute later, it looked as if the Avs had regained the three-goal lead as Nikita Zadorov blasted a shot past Philipp Grubauer. After the Capitals coaching staff challenged the goal, it was called back on one of the weakest goaltender interference calls you will ever see. Grubauer shoved Matt Nieto as he was skating through the corner of the crease and apparently that counts as Nieto ‘impeding’ this ability to save the shot. It was a terrible call by the NHL and the score should have been 4-1 going into the third.
The Avs didn’t let that terrible call keep them down as Landeskog was able to capitalize on a penalty shot five minutes into the third - restoring the 4-1 lead the team thought they had just before the intermission.
The Avalanche were able to build an even bigger lead as Mikko Rantanen scored his 6th goal of the season - making the score 5-1.
The Caps were able to add a second goal late in the game to make it 5-2, but there was only one thing left in doubt - would the captain be able to get his third goal to complete the hat-trick?
With one last powerplay, Landeskog was able to score his third of the night, capping off a 6-2 Avalanche victory.
- We are witnessing Nathan MacKinnon’s breakout season.
- MacKinnon and Landeskog have decided this is their team and that they’re going to carry them into the post-Duchene era.
- Samuel Girard is going to be a no-doubt top pair defender in the NHL for a long long time.
- Andrei Mironov is not ready for the NHL. He looks lost in his own zone far too often
- Tonight we witnessed one of the worst goaltender interference calls you will ever see.
- The Avs can’t afford to keep taking as many penalties as they have been
The Avs will travel to Nashville for a game against the Predators Saturday night. For the first time, Sam Girard is going to get a chance to face off against the team that drafted him - it’s a shame we can’t say the same for Kamenev.