After seeing their points streak snapped in a frustrating game in Pittsburgh, the Colorado Avalanche headed south to hopefully pick up some points against the Florida Panthers. That was just what the Avalanche did as they got contributions up and down their lineup in a 5-2 victory in South Florida.
The first period was pretty much a back and forth affair. Shots were 13-10 in favor of the Avalanche and each team traded goals. The visitors got on the board at 10:40 as Mikko Rantanen extended his points streak to ten games with a deflected tip goal off of a Patrik Nemeth shot. Florida would answer back at 17:53 with a deflection of their own from Colton Sceviour to take the contest into the first intermission tied.
In the second period the Panthers grabbed a bit of momentum although both teams traded goals again. Carl Soderberg put the Avalanche back in the lead at 5:44 on a great shorthanded tally but Florida answered right back on the same power play at 6:19 from Aaron Ekblad.
Avalanche fans had a scare near the end of the second period when Erik Johnson appeared to jam his wrist before heading to the dressing room early. Johnson however returned for the third period and still logged his typical time on ice. He appears to have avoided injury, but it’s definitely something to monitor going forward.
Coach Jared Bednar must have sensed the game slipping away because for one of the first times all year he mixed up his lines and broke up the golden chain top line to begin the third period. After killing a penalty to start the period the Avalanche had a fantastic shift culminating with JT Compher tipping in a Gabe Landeskog shot to take the lead at 6:21.
Carl Soderberg added another tally from Colin Wilson less than a minute later and suddenly the Avalanche were in control of the game again. Gabe Landeskog added an empty net goal to get himself on the scoresheet as well.
- A nice resilient effort for the Avalanche after the frustrating loss in Pittsburgh. It was also the eleventh road win for the squad after they won only 15 games on the road in the 2017-18 season. With a large section of home games upcoming it will be the next task to bring that energy and focus it at the Pepsi Center.
- It remains to be seen if the line mixes will continue on to the next game or will just be something that Bednar takes out on occasion when some sparked momentum is needed. Soderberg in particular is more dangerous offensively with some more dynamic talents on his wing. It was also nice to see Compher rewarded with a look on the top line after showing some good jump on the penalty kill in particular.
- Philipp Grubauer had a strong start with the win and making 33 saves. It will be interesting to see how the starts in net are handed out gong forward. No doubt both goaltenders will see a good bit of action with two more back-to-backs and six games in nine nights [Editor’s Note: nice] before the holiday break, but nights like tonight should work towards gaining him some favor in net down the road.
The four-game road trip concludes on Saturday, December 8th at 5pm MT in Tampa Bay to take on the formidable Lightning.