Upon the return of Erik Johnson and Vladislav Kamanev, your Colorado Avalanche did not disappoint. Getting some incredible performances from the usual suspects, the youngest team in the league curb-stomped the oldest team in the league. Let’s take you through this one:
The game started off very physical and incredibly fast. Erik Johnson had his first hit on the very first shift, which was fantastic to see.
The Avs were clearly the better team to start the period, quickly getting a few quality shots on goal. They were soon rewarded with a Landeskog tip on a MacKinnon shot, scoring before the fourth minute of the period ended.
Near the 15 minute mark, Soderberg brought the puck up on a 2 on 2 and had Comeau coming up just in front. Soda made a great pass, and Comeau redirected it into the net, putting the Avs up by 2 goals.
The period ended with the Avs still on top 2-0. The Avs were a little sloppy defensively at times, giving up a few good opportunities, but for the most part was good.
The Avs top line walked all over Detroit’s defense, and had multiple dangerous opportunities from all of MacKinnon, Landeskog, and Rantanen. Colorado for the most part controlled the play, holding the shots 12-5 in their favor. Hopefully this can continue through the remainder of the game.
The Avalanche early on had a rough start, mainly due to Tyson Barrie breaking his stick. Zadorov soon took a holding penalty. Despite some good chances for the Red Wings, Colorado managed to kill it off but had some difficulty getting into the offensive zone. Fortunately the big line had an excellent shift getting the momentum back. The Avs resumed the former dominance of the first period, and were rewarded with a gorgeous Nathan MacKinnon backhand goal.
However, the Red Wings got their first goal on a Justin Abdelkader shot. They started winning back the period, but ruined their momentum with a holding penalty on Anthony Mantha. The powerplay was downright terrible though, and the period ended with about 30 seconds left on the PP. Avs are up 3-1, but were massively outplayed by the Detroit Red Wings and the shots now sit at 21-20.
Detroit soon killed off the penalty to only be rewarded with a Patrik Nemeth hooking penalty. Colorado survived the penalty, but they need a jolt to get back in the game, as Detroit had six shots on the PP. Fortunately though, Nemeth drew a highsticking penalty to give the Avs the man advantage, although it cost him a tooth. The Avalanche were unable to convert again. However, MacKinnon made another incredible play and scored on a wrap-around.
The game really opened up after this, with many great opportunities for the Avalanche. Mike Green took a penalty with less than five minutes to go for cross-checking. Because the Red Wings were in a giving mood, Abdelkader was called for cross-checking on the ensuing faceoff. Tyson Barrie took a one-timer from the point and scored the Avs fifth goal. The Avalanche still were on the powerplay. The last thing to happen in the game was an Andrighetto highstick, but there was only five seconds left so nothing else happens.
- The Kamanev-Kerfoot-Bourque line was atrocious, to the point where its worth questioning whether or not they deserved a mulligan as a group altogether. They were horrendous defensively and gave up some high quality shots and even a goal. The Red Wings (a terrible team, mind you) were regularly able to get some long shifts in the offensive zone whenever this line was on the ice. Please Bednar, don’t do this again.
- Varlamov ended the day with 37 saves with only one goal allowed. It’s not nice to see the Avs having to rely on him so much, but he sure has stepped up as of late.
- MacKinnon has moved into second in scoring as of now, tied with McDavid and Malkin (three M’s, eh?) with 89 points. Provided McDavid and Kucherov don’t score today, MacK will be only two points out of the lead. How is he doing this? If he catches up to Kucherov, then I’m going to boycott the NHL if he doesn’t win the Hart.
- Glad to have you back EJ. Now the Avs aren’t relying on Tyson Barrie to carry the defense (I love Barrie and think his defensive play is underrated, but even I admit that’s not ideal).
The Colorado Avalanche head to Chicago to take on the Blackhawks at 6:30 Mountain Time on March 20th.