The Colorado Avalanche ended their road trip in Alberta hoping to snap their suddenly worrisome five-game losing streak. Playing a lighter schedule during the stretch also means that it had been nearly three weeks since the Avalanche secured a victory against a team not named the Ottawa Senators. Fortunately the Avalanche took care of business and controlled the game start to finish in a 4-1 defeat of the Edmonton Oilers.
The Avalanche set the tone just 26 seconds into the contest when Mikko Rantanen buried a rebound off of a Nathan MacKinnon shot. The top line showed yet again why they are the gold chain and leaders on the team.
With the lead the Avalanche were in full control of the period outshooting the Oilers 12-9 despite having to kill off a Matt Calvert penalty. The visitors also had 53.85% of the shot share as well. Carl Soderberg added a tally late in the period at 15:33 off of a great feed from Tyson Barrie, which happened to be his 200th career assist.
The Oilers would begin to push back for the rest of the game but the Avalanche were in full control. Alexander Kerfoot would swat away at a loose puck on a power play at convert at 5:06, which would chase Oilers goaltender Cam Talbot from the net. Yet again the second power play unit showing its effectiveness after the first unit had stalled out.
Tyson Barrie wasn’t done having fun on this evening and decided to score his first goal of the season as well at 10:56 to give the Avalanche a 4-0 lead halfway through the contest. Mikko Rantanen fed Barrie a great cross-ice pass for his 26th point of the season as he retakes the league scoring lead.
The Avalanche just needed to get through the third period to get back to Denver with the two points. Despite giving up a goal and losing Semyon Varlamov’s shutout to Ty Rattie at 9:20 and killing off a penalty immediately after the score, the Avalanche cruised to a much needed 4-1 victory.
Depth scoring has been quite a topic as of late but the Avalanche keep getting contributions up and down their lineup. Tonight was a great example of the scoring variety with goals from Rantanen, Soderberg, Kerfoot and Barrie but even in the losses over the course of this week it was Matt Calvert, Erik Johnson and Tyson Jost who found the back of the net. Even with contributions from other areas, the top line setting the tone with an early lead really made a big difference.
While it won’t look like anything special in the box score, this was Vladislav Kamenev’s best game in an Avalanche uniform. He was using his size, protecting the puck well tonight and creating chances especially off the cycle. He was effective in his game and for his linemates Gabriel Bourque and Matt Nieto. Kamenev ended the game with nearly ten minutes of ice time, a 50% Corsi For percentage, one shot and won half of his draws. If head coach Jared Bednar wanted to see something out of Kamenev before moving him up the lineup with linemates who he can create offense with, the game tape from this evening should give him enough confidence to do so.
If there was any question that it is still Semyon Varlamov’s net then his start and performance in this game should erase all doubts. Varlamov has been very strong all year and made some fantastic saves in this contest. He also received all the starts this week despite losing two of them. It is fair to wonder when Philipp Grubauer will see the net again.
The Avalanche travel home to host the Boston Bruins and the second best line in the league at 8pm MT on Wednesday, November 14th.