After a disappointing loss to Calgary at home last game, the Colorado Avalanche pulled out a very nice win over a tough opponent. The Winnipeg Jets are currently sitting at number two in the Central division, which is easily the most competitive division top to bottom in the NHL. Let’s delve in, shall we?
It wasn’t too long until the penalty parade began. Dominic Toninato slashed one of the Jets’ players and was sent to the box for two minutes. Winnipeg couldn’t really get anything going, and before you knew it the PK unit was off the ice. However, the Avalanche’s good play just about fell off a cliff, even after some good opportunities from Comeau and Rantanen. 8 minutes into the period the Jets had the puck in the offensive zone for 20 scary seconds before Josh Morrissey put it in the net on a one-timer from Scheifele. It was looking bad, but a bucket of ice seemed to dumped on the home team shortly thereafter, which came in the form of Kyle Connor playing with a broken stick.
On the resulting power play they got some things going. MacKinnon took a shot, which Compher shot on the rebound, which Kerfoot then put past Winnipeg goalie Connor Hellebuyck. That wasn’t even the craziest part of the play: Hellebuyck’s helmet strap came loose on MacKinnon’s shot, and then he saw the puck headed Kerfoot’s way. Hellebuyck did a funky little head shimmy, which consequently removed his helmet before Kerfoot buried the puck.
MacKinnon shot blew a buckle off Hellebuyck's helmet, Compher swung and chipped it wide. Kerfoot chips it in! 1-1! pic.twitter.com/Ck9x70UZi8— Avalanche Gifs (@Avs__Gifs) November 30, 2017
Fortunately, the officials were having none of that crap, and the goal counted.
Right after the goal Scheifele tripped Girard and the Avs were back on the power play. They weren’t able to score on the opportunity, yet they looked much better since their first goal. Right at the end of the period Soderberg put a shot right off the post and over the glass, marking the second shot by an Av’s player to do so and not score. Both teams entered intermission with a goal apiece, shots were 10-7 with the Avs edging the Jets in that regard.
Both teams came out playing hard. The Avs were probably the better team to begin, but cooled off somewhat. Varlamov started bailing everyone out with some nice saves, including several with the glove. About midway through the period, the “rookie line” came on and absolutely started lighting the place up, getting several dangerous opportunities. Unfortunately, nothing could seemed to accomplished besides a horde of subsequent penalties.
Comeau held Tyler Myers, then Myers during the delayed penalty closed his hand over the puck. In the 4-on-4, Erik Johnson slashed Jacob Trouba. Not to be outdone, Winnipeg put too many men on the ice. Then in the final minutes Tyson Jost took a hooking penalty and sat for two. The Avs closed out the period on the PK, leaving the score alone at the 1-1 tie it was at the beginning of the period.
Did you think the penalties were over with? Think again. Ben Chiarot tripped Blake Comeau at 3:00, and Matt Nieto tripped Patrik Laine at around the same time. At 5:18 Jacob Trouba tripped Tyson Jost, and Mark Barberio tripped Joel Armia at 9:51. After seeing all of this tripping, I couldn’t help but wondering if I was the one who was actually tripping. Oh well.
Unfortunately in the middle of this (seemingly) drug-induced fog, Winnipeg forward Bryan Little snuck one under the glove of Varly. The Avalanche goaltender didn’t look too happy having that one go through, as he was trying to cover the puck and Little got his stick in there and put it through.
At this point my nails were completely gone and all of my hair was lying in a pile on the floor. Zadorov calmed the nerves a bit when he sniped one past that scoundrel Hellebuyck, this time with no conveniently airborne goalie mask. At this point, both teams were playing playoff-caliber hockey. A couple of shots went off the post, by my count two for Winnipeg and one for the Avs in this period. No one could really catch any breaks, so this one appeared to be headed to overtime.
But just because they could, Winnipeg put too many men on the ice with 8 seconds left. Because reasons. After the resulting face-off, Colorado lost the draw and the clock dwindled down to 0 with the score tied 2-2.
Due to the Jets’ benevolent gift, the Avs started off with a nice little 4-on-3. The Avalanche immediately started dominating, and through some nice play they got the puck to MacKinnon, who tried to pass it to Rantanen for the tip-in. Because the Winnipeg Jets seemed to be intent on screwing themselves over, one of their players tipped it in the net instead. Then they changed their mind and challenged the play, hoping it was offsides. Unfortunately, Tyson Barrie was, but just barely. He blew a tire after being bumped by a Jets’ player and couldn’t get back across the blue line.
Here is a very clear look at Barrie being offsides on zone entry for the first MacKinnon OT goal. #AvsGifs pic.twitter.com/1B9sqtefzm— Avalanche Gifs (@Avs__Gifs) November 30, 2017
I of course, was like great, I had just screamed at the TV about how we won. I’m sure MacKinnon wasn’t terribly happy about it either, least of all Barrie. But fortunately MacKinnon turned around and scored again, though most importantly I got to scream at the TV again - this time for real.
MacK attacKed (and attacKed) and scored the game-winner!— Colorado Avalanche (@Avalanche) November 30, 2017
#GoAvsGo #GoAvsGo pic.twitter.com/ftIgTGiPB9
- That rookie line was very impressive. Apparently living together creates on-ice chemistry. Kerfoot was especially excellent, and Compher had a pretty nice night as well.
- There was a total 13 penalties in that game. 5 of them were tripping.
- The Winnipeg Jets are a very competitive team, and they currently sit at third in the league in points. The fact that the Avalanche was not only able to hang in there and eek out a win but actually look great doing so bodes well for this team’s future.
- Girard as always looks like a bonafide NHL-er, his puck skills are beautiful. It’s only a matter of time until he starts racking up points.
- The Avs didn’t really seem to miss the Captain, as odd as it sounds. Hopefully when he comes back they will be all the more dominant.
- A lot of those commercials on TV get really old.
The Avs play the New Jersey Devils at the Pepsi Center at 7:00 PM Mountain Time on Friday, December 1st.