The Colorado Avalanche picked a great time to get their first win against their Central Division rivals in St. Louis. Once again it was the pair of Nathan MacKinnon and Mikko Rantanen that put the team on their back and carried the Avs to two points.
Early on, it looked like it was going to be a long night as it took the Avalanche nearly 10 minutes to get their second shot on net. Then at 10:11 of the first period, Nathan MacKinnon - who else - opened the scoring when he was able to get an innocent looking wrist shot past Jake Allen.
It didn’t take long for the Avs to extend the lead as once again Nathan MacKinnon found the back of the net, burying the rebound off of a Tyson Barrie point shot. The goal was MacKinnon’s 35th of the season and while the Avs were being outshot, they were able to go into the first intermission with a 2-0 lead.
The Avalanche came out for the second period looking like a team that was happy sitting back on a two-goal lead - and it cost them. Nearly halfway through the period, Joel Edmundson scored his second of the season, cutting the lead in half.
Luckily for the Avs, Nathan MacKinnon isn’t the only member of that top line that is having an outstanding season. Five minutes after the Blues made the score 2-1, Mikko Rantanen scored on a semi-breakaway after an incredible outlet pass from Gabriel Landeskog.
Starting the third period with a 3-1 lead, the Avs didn’t sit back the way they to begin the second. The teams traded scoring chances for the first ten minutes but neither team could capitalize.
St. Louis started to put on the pressure as the period went on, but Semyon Varlamov was outstanding. As has become routine, the Avalanche began to rely on their goalie while they tried to hold onto a late-game lead - and once again, Varly answered the call.
The Blues pulled their goalie with a little more than three minutes remaining in the game, allowing Mikko Rantanen to score an empty net goal making the final score 4-1.
- The Avalanche are now 30-2-2 when starting the third period with a lead
- With his assist on Nathan MacKinnon's first-period goal, Tyson Barrie extended his personal point streak to 8 games.
- After a couple of really good games, Tyson Jost and J. T Compher had a bit of a stinker tonight.
- Semyon Varlamov’s save % has increased each month this season. He is playing his best hockey when it matters the most.
- St. Louis had 22 shots in the third period. The Avs are playing a dangerous game when they have a late lead.
- Nikita Zadorov left the game briefly and looked to be in some discomfort, but he returned and finished the game. Hopefully, he doesn’t wake up too sore tomorow.
- The Avalanche are now just a single point behind the Minnesota Wild for third place in the Central Division.
The Avalanche are right back at it tomorrow at home against the Western Conference-leading Nashville Predators. Both teams are playing the second leg of a back-to-back, so there could be some tired legs at the Pepsi Center.