No MacKinnon, no Rantanen, It’s no problem when you’re Feelin’ the Bern. The Colorado Avalanche returned home after a six-game road trip to steal a 3-1 victory from the San Jose Sharks.
Without their top two scorers, the Avalanche were outplayed for large portions of the night, but thankfully Jonathan Bernier was there to steal one for his team, making 38 saves for the win.
It was a huge two points as the Avalanche try to keep pace in the Western Conference playoff race. The rookies carried the load offensively as both J.T Compher and Tyson Jost had a goal and an assist to fill in while the big guns are injured.
As has been the case with most Avs games this season, this wasn’t a very eventful first period. Anton Lindholm took the game’s first penalty near the 15-minute mark and once again Jonathan Bernier was the team’s best penalty killer until Carl Soderberg drew a reciprocating penalty a minute and a half later. The Sharks killed off the Mikkel Boedker penalty sending the game into the first intermission tied 0-0. The Avalanche were lucky to be tied. Jonathan Bernier was huge for the team as the Sharks outshot them 14-3 in the first period.
The Avalanche rewarded the great play by their goaltender by drawing first blood early in the second. After Bernier made his 16th save of the night, Gabriel Bourque scored his third of the season to take a 1-0 lead. The goal came a little more than two minutes into the period and was generated by a great play by J.T. Compher.
Two minutes later, the Avs took a 2-0 lead on an incredible snipe from Tyson Jost. The rookie got his second point of the game when he beat Martin Jones with a wrist shot after a great outlet pass from Nail Yakupov.
The Avs were able to carry the play for a while, but unfortunately, it was the Sharks that were able to score the next one. With about 7 minutes left in the second, Joel Ward beat Bernier to cut the Avs’ lead to 2-1.
After a much better second period, the Avalanche were back on their heels for most of the third. The Sharks carried most of the possession but were unable to beat Jonathan Bernier. The closest either team came to scoring in the first 15 minutes of the period was when the puck rolled down the back of Martin Jones, bounced off the goal line and popped out - proving once again that goalies are voodoo.
During the closing minutes, Bernier was able to shut the door and Compher added an empty net goal to seal the win.
That’s a second win against the Sharks this season and another big victory on home ice.
- The Avs were able to gain the offensive zone with ease, unfortunately, their passing was off for a lot of the night and the zone entries didn’t result in as many scoring chances as they should have.
- Blake Comeau is now the only Av that has played every game this season.
- Yak, Jost and Compher looked really good together, they were dangerous in the offensive zone and were able to limit chances against.
- JT Compher’s empty net goal was the team’s first 3rd-period tally in the past 5 games.
- If Jonathan Bernier keeps playing like this, it’s going to be pretty hard for Varlamov to regain the starting job.
- The Avalanche need Rantanen back in a big way. The line of Landeskog, Kerfoot and Wilson simply didn’t look dangerous enough to give any sort of offensive production.
The Avs head back out on the road for a big Central Division matchup with the Blues Thursday night.