After an emotionally charged competitive battle the previous night in Philadelphia, the Colorado Avalanche traveled to Brooklyn to take on the New York Islanders. In the second half of a back to back and before their week long journey to Sweden, it was expected there would be a bit of an emotional let down. Nobody could have predicted that the long anticipated Matt Duchene trade would go down in the middle of the first period, however.
Things didn't get off as the Avs had hoped when a bit of a scramble play in front of goaltender Jonathan Bernier and at 4:05 a Scott Mayfield shot found its way into the net. Matt Barzal made a nifty pass to Jordan Eberle at 12:58 and the game quickly devolved from there. Blake Comeau took a puck to the ear and would exit the ice and it was quickly noticed that Duchene followed Comeau back to the dressing room.
Rumors began to swirl about Duchene, was he injured or had that rumored three way trade gone through? As it turns out the latter was the case and with everyone scrambling to figure out the details the focus on the game went out the window. Nathan MacKinnon managed to get on the board just 40 seconds into the second period and Gabe Landeskog tacked on another at 13:02 but the Avs found themselves in a 5-2 hole by the end of the second period.
Yet another 20 minutes to go before the Avs could sort out their team and the aftermath of the trade that's been in the making for nearly two years, the Islanders found a sixth tally courtesy of the Barzal and Eberle combo at 1:23. Alexander Kerfoot decided he wasn't going to be forgotten this evening and tacked on two goals at 19:30 and 19:51 for good measure with some hard work, nifty hands and a little luck. Then the game was mercifully over.
The fallout from the Duchene trade will take days to months and even years to sort through but there's a lot of initial reactions at the forefront. First, the impact in the lineup and who slots in at the second center position? Tyson Jost and JT Compher will return from injury in short time and will need to take on a larger role without Duchene on the team. There's also Kerfoot who has been solid in his first fourteen games in Colorado who could also play higher in the lineup at center. All three will probably get a chance over the course of the rest of the season.
The injury list is growing longer by the day with Comeau's status unknown, Matt Nieto out with an illness plus defensemen Anton Lindholm's broken jaw and Patrik Nemeth missing time in the game as well. The Avs might need some extra bodies to fill out a roster and have a couple healthy extras for their two game jaunt to Sweden upcoming.
Speaking of, not only is the much anticipated Global Series event in Stockholm, Sweden next on the docket, the Avs will face Matt Duchene and his new team the Ottawa Senators in their very next game on the world stage. The NHL couldn't have scripted this better if they had tried.
Ottawa at Colorado in Stockholm at 12pm Mountain time on Friday, November 10th on Altitude and NHL Network.