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Gritty retires to his dwelling unhappy; Avalanche beat Flyers 5-2

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Colorado’s perfect season continues.

NHL: Philadelphia Flyers at Colorado Avalanche Troy Babbitt-USA TODAY Sports

It wouldn’t be the visiting Philadelphia Flyers if the game didn’t come with its fair share of chippiness and shall we say, grit. There was a lot to like in this game. Both teams looked ready to play from the moment the puck dropped and for the most part played 60 minutes of mistake-free hockey.

Fortunately for the Avalanche the goals kept coming and thanks to the go-ahead from captain Gabe Landeskog in the second period the Avalanche come away victorious and head out on the first road trip of the season with a 2-0 record.


Recap

It didn’t take long for the fans at the Pepsi Center to be rewarded as Colin Wilson put the Avalanche up 1-0 only a minute and half into the game. Johnson initially shot the puck from the point, then a second from Kerfoot, and finally the third whack from Wilson gets past Elliot and finds the back of the net.

Plenty of scoring opportunities ensued for the Avalanche throughout the first period. Even rookie Sheldon Dries got in on the action with a great play behind Elliot’s net which created a big scoring opportunity for the young winger from Macomb Township, Wisconsin.

Philadelphia would get the game back even with a breakaway opportunity from Travis Konecny that is stopped with a big save from Varlamov but none of the Avalanche defencemen decided to box Sean Couturier out and he cleans up the rebound at the 7:30 mark in the first.

Both penalties in the first went against the Avalanche and though the Flyers power play has historically been one of the deadliest the past couple of the years the Avs were able to hold them off with some big saves from #1 in the crease.

With 7 minutes remaining in the first, J.T. Compher gives the Avs the lead with a pretty feed from Girard and with bodies in front of Elliot.

With Patrik Nemeth being nicked up from Thursday’s game, Mark Barberio took over the 3RD spot and it didn’t bode well for him to start the second. In what looked to be an innocent enough play with the puck being dumped in on Varlamov from half ice, Varly went out to cover the puck and an unsuspecting Barberio looking over his shoulder skated right into Varlamov and caused the puck to squeeze loose right to a Philadelphia Flyer stick and Mikhail Vorobyev couldn’t have had an easier first NHL goal.

The Avalanche didn’t let this mistake haunt them the rest of the game as Gabriel Landeskog got what would be the game-winning goal at 7:18 in the period. When the game is 4v4 and Nathan MacKinnon is on the ice, watch out. He can take control of the game and no where can you see that more than four on four.

The Avalanche had a couple of great scoring chances towards the end of the second with the play being dictated by the Kerfoot/Jost/Wilson line as they were winning races to every puck and making slick passes to open areas. Kerfoot and Wilson have detactable chemistry and Jost isn’t too far behind.

Semyon Varlamov made an incredible save late in the second which got the crow singing VARLY VARLY VARLY. However, the instant replay may have taken that one back as the post was knocked off its moorings.

The third period felt a lot like the third period on Thursday’s game. With the Avalanche up one and the Flyers pressing it all seemed but certain that one would squeak by but Varly made some big saves to keep the Flyers at bay.

The insurance goal came on the power play from the second unit as Kerfoot took a shot from the hash which perfectly bounced off the left pad of Elliot right to Colin Wilson’s stick who buried his second of the night.

And the Avalanche weren’t done. With the Philadelphia goalie pulled the eyes for the Avalanche lit up and found themselves scoring a 3 empty net goal in the past 2 games. Nathan MacKinnon would get his second of the season and put the Avalanche up 5-2 potting one of those empty netters.

The game was must more evenly matched from what the score represents however the Avalanche made the most of their opportunities and a man in the crease that goes by the name of VARLY.


Observations

  • Semyon Varlamov seems to play better when the games matter most - up a goal with 10 minutes to play in the third. That could mean scary business for the rest of the NHL.
  • That was Colin Wilson’s best game. Hands down. He looked fast, quick, strong, and completely dominated the ice when he was out there. He has really found his game playing with the young ones in Kerfoot and Jost.
  • The player we should all be most excited about is Samuel Girard. He has exponentially grown both physically and mentally. And guys - he’s only going to get better.
  • Nemeth > Barberio
  • This team is nearly identical to last years team and it’s only making them better. The second year players have really found their niche being with the team one full year. Gabriel Bourque, Tyson Jost, Colin Wilson, Alexander Kerfoot - all guys that know the system that Bednar wants to play.
  • Varlamov is in the zone. He currently holds a 1.5GAA and .948SV%. Don’t look at him in the eyes.

What’s Next

The Avalanche travel to Columbus (1-1) for their first road test of the season as they take on the Blue Jackets on Tuesday at 5PM. They then go onto Buffalo (1-1) to square off against Eichel and company on Thursday at 5PM.

Both games will be televised on Altitude and The Altitude Radio Network.