The Avalanche pulled out a good 5-2 win over the Arizona Coyotes on Military Appreciation night.
Speaking of which, many members of the armed forces were honored tonight, and that is always a great thing. We should all appreciate their sacrifice, as well as the sacrifice of their families, as many put their lives on the line so the rest of us can enjoy our freedom.
Now, let’s take you through the game:
The game started off with a bang, with four goals in the first ten minutes. Blake Comeau started the scoring frenzy on an absolutely gorgeous backhand dangle on a 2 on 1 with Carl Soderberg.
Arizona answered back on an impressive redirection by Christian Dvorak, tying up the game.
The Avs didn’t sit on their hands though, and Tyson Barrie sniped the puck from the blueline to extend his impressive scoring streak to 5 games. Soon after, Carl Soderberg improved the lead to two on a weird pass that bounced off a Coyotes player and went in the net.
It didn’t take long for things to get chippy, and there were a handful of penalties exchanged between the curious rivals as the period went on. Things got pretty heated, but no goals were scored.
Laurent Dauphin started the frenzy with a hooking penalty, and MacKinnon soon took a cross-checking in response. He wasn’t done, either, getting into a fight with Coyotes forward Jordan Martinook after a huge hit on Mikko Rantanen. MacKinnon took an additional roughing penalty to the five minute major, but fortunately didn’t get a game misconduct for instigating.
Period ends, Avs up 3-1. What an interesting period, shots are 10 ARI to 9 COL.
MacKinnon returned to the game five minutes into the period after some back and forth play. Arizona subsequently took a high-sticking penalty, putting them shorthanded. The powerplay looked fairly uninspired, only getting one shot on goal. The Avs started putting on some good pressure, getting a good few scoring chances.
However, Arizona halved the lead on a great shot by Richard Panik. He soon drew a tripping penalty on Landeskog, putting the Avs in a difficult position. Bernier stood tall after facing multiple shots and the penalty ended. The period ends with Colorado still on top 3-2.
The Avalanche came out hard to start the period, getting over 7 shots on net in the first five minutes. Arizona had a few injuries, both on blocked shots. I’m not sure who the first one was, but the second was Derek Stepan. Hopefully the two of them are okay, and can return to playing hockey here soon.
The injuries weren’t over, either - as later, Jonathan Bernier also left the game with an undisclosed injury, leaving Varlamov to take over. As stated for the two Arizona players, hopefully he can return soon.
The Coyotes took a penalty for too many men, and Tyson Jost batted it into the net to score the Avs’ fourth. They didn’t rest though, as MacKinnon used his speed to pull guys out of position, and he passed it to Rantanen who backhanded it into the net.
To continue the physicality theme, there was a fun little bit of scrappiness between Oliver Ekmann-Larsson and Sven Andrighetto. This turned into a line brawl, with a lot of discussion between the refs. It all started with Ekman-Larsson slashing Andrighetto, then he broke his stick on Andrighetto with a crosscheck. Andrighetto then popped him, leading to a bit of a brawl. The Avs went on with a double minor powerplay, but Rantanen tripped someone to cause a 4-on-4. No goals occured during this series of penalties. The game finished with the Avs up 5-2, a solid win over a very hot team.
- This game puts the Avs in the second wild card spot, provided the LA Kings lose later today. Every game is critical at this point, and Colorado played very well against a streaking team. The third period play was especially good. The Avs scored two goals and had 14 shots on goal, which is something that we all would like to see more of.
- The goaltending situation looks a bit dire. If Bernier is out for too long, Varly is going to get burned out. We might have to see Spencer Martin or Andrew Hammond in net, which isn’t ideal.
- Arizona-Colorado rivalry anyone? All three games seem to involve a fight or three and loads of penalties. In any case, these two teams are very fun to watch when they play each other.
- I can’t help but like MacKinnon sticking up for his teammates, but I don’t want him to risk injury like that. He has shown fighting capability, more than holding his own, and has fought three times now this year, all when one of his fellow players was hit hard. He still finished the night with 2 primary assists, marking 81 points on the season. He has scored at a 2 point-per-game pace since his injury.
Tuesday the Avs take on the hated Minnesota Wild at 6:30 PM at Xcel Energy Center.