The first period was pretty forgettable with no goals. Neither team really took advantage and looked to be headed toward a sleepy affair. But that was not indicative of the rest of the contest.
Then seven goals happened in the middle frame. Vancouver struck first on a goal from Darren Archibald which snuck behind the goal line just 34 seconds into the period. The Avalanche would then tie the game on the power play at 10:34 when Tyson Jost deflected a Tyson Barrie shot into the net.
That tie would not last long as Vancouver got their own power play marker and then two quick goals in a total of just about three minutes off of bad turnovers and perhaps questionable goaltending from Semyon Varlamov. It seemed the Avalanche would probably pack the game in at that point. When bad things snowball on them they just don't know how to dig out of a hole.
Vancouver couldn't just accept a 4-1 game on a platter and they took two consecutive penalties to end the period, which the Avalanche scored on both. Mikko Rantanen sniped the top corner for the second Avalanche power play goal at 17:57. Then Gabe Landeskog executed a beautiful tip play with Nathan MacKinnon for their third power play goal of the evening at 19:23. The game was back on.
The Avalanche turned on their game in the third period, holding 63% of possession and outshot the Canucks 8-2 at even strength. It wasn't until three minutes left in the game the Avalanche power play would strike again with Barrie getting the goal.
Overtime was a back and forth affair until again, Vancouver takes a penalty and Nathan MacKinnon seals the deal at 3:36 on the Avalanche fifth power play goal of the evening. For a team which had struggled mightily on the man advantage, especially on the road, this was quite the satisfying victory.
The first game into the life without Erik Johnson era seemed to head toward the same defeatist mindset the Avalanche had last season with a lot of sloppy and careless play. Hopefully this win will get the team out of that rut and show they can remain competitive. Tyson Barrie logged nearly 30 minutes in this contest and had a career night with five points. The team will need continued high level performance from him going forward.
It might get overshadowed by the phenomenal night the top players had and the success of the power play but Tyson Jost had the best night of his career and was a key part in the win. He not only scored the first goal of the evening but with sheer hard work and determination drew the penalties in which the Avalanche scored the game tying and winning goals. He logged 15 minutes of ice time and lead the team in possession with a 67% Corsi For. With MacKinnon back in the lineup Jost was going to see a few minutes cut centering the fourth line but tonight's performance should give head coach Jared Bednar the confidence to use Jost more. It is very exciting and encouraging watching Jost get more comfortable and assertive at the NHL level.
After the Avalanche gave up the fourth goal it seemed a prime opportunity to insert Andrew Hammond especially with the game seemingly out of hand. At times Varlamov doesn't look comfortable and with the game every other day schedule he could certainly use a rest. Bednar did not make the switch and ultimately that was the right call but it's tough not to wonder if Hammond is going to see the ice at all for the Avalanche.
The never ending Canadian road trip continues as the Avalanche head back to Edmonton for a 7pm MT game on Thursday, February 22nd.