On Friday night, the Colorado Avalanche won a 5-4 OT thriller against the Florida Panthers, taking home a win that featured both a stunning performance from Philipp Grubauer and complimentary scoring from the “new guy line”.
Just one day later, the Avalanche made their way three-and a half hours up the western coast of Florida to Amalie Arena. For their second installment of a back-to-back, poised for a matchup with the star studded Tampa Bay Lightning, the Avalanche opted for a true test for backup goaltender Pavel Francouz — hoping he’d show his stuff against one of the league’s biggest threats in the east.
After 60 minutes, though, the Avalanche had shown that they’re considered a top threat this year for a reason. They handily cleaned up against Tampa Bay, taking home a 6-2 win and pulling even farther ahead from the pack in the Western Conference.
The game couldn’t have started any better for the Avs, who scored three minutes and nine seconds into the first period to gain their first lead of the game. Sam Girard made a great read, and solid work from Tyson Jost lead to a one-touch goal for his second of the season:
Josty strikes first!#GoAvsGo pic.twitter.com/1qCgPY2B1Z— Colorado Avalanche (@Avalanche) October 19, 2019
Braydon Coburn took the game’s first penalty just over a minute later, putting Colorado on the PP four and a half minutes into the period. Luckily for Tampa Bay, Colorado’s first power-play unit sputtered, though, and the second unit wasn’t much better during the minor — and then Nikita Zadorov was called for slashing shortly after, giving the Lighting power-play a chance to even things up.
Tampa Bay didn’t manage to convert on their own man-advantage attempt. The Lightning power-play usually relies on a one-timer from captain Steven Stamkos, but Erik Johnson was in front of both attempts. Each took a piece of EJ who hobbled to the bench and took praise from his teammates.
Goaltender Pavel Francouz made an absolute show stopping save with four-and a half minutes remaining to keep the game at 1-0, but the Avalanche’s initial lead didn’t last long after that. The Lighting finally struck after the Avalanche left a side wide open, allowing Kevin Shattenkirk to pinch in, make a move and bounce one off of Yanni Gourde and the inside of the right post. The game was tied at one after one.
The second period got physical in a hurry, with Avs tough guy Matt Calvert fighting Lightning defender Erik Cernak. Both skaters went off with five minute majors.
The fight certainly didn’t get the Lightning revved up, though. Tyson Jost scored his second of the night not even two minutes after the scuffle, capitalizing on a patient pass from JT Compher. Jost went top cheese again, and Colorado took a 2-1 lead.
The top line was able to get going in period two, as well. Nathan MacKinnon sent a wrister from the point, which captain Gabriel Landeskog deflected in to pull ahead to a 3-1 lead. Then, before the team could stop celebrating that goal, Tyson Jost completed his hat trick with another from the slot to earn his first career hatty and give the team a 4-1 lead with just under 30 minutes left to play.
A HAT TRICK FOR TYSON JOST!#GoAvsGo pic.twitter.com/7311fobmFG— Colorado Avalanche (@Avalanche) October 20, 2019
Things got a little scrappy again late in the period after a frozen puck, when Tampa Bay’s Anthony Cirelli and Landeskog exchanged blows and each earned a roughing minor. Although Tampa looked dangerous during the four-on-four, though, Francouz stood strong between the pipes — and even though both teams had chances and probed to end the period, the Avalanche were in complete control at this point and entered the second intermission leading 4-1.
Pavel Francouz’s performance on the night seemed to catch the Lightning off guard, and the third period kicked off with a hushed Tampa crowd.
Tampa took a cross-checking penalty, and shortly after Landeskog went off for hooking to send both teams to another four on four situation. Then Ondrej Palat tripped Nazem Kadri — and thanks to a poor acting job, Kadri was also sent off for embellishment. The crowd got 3 on 3 action for a minute and change.
Two minutes later, Kadri came out of the box and tallied his third of the year to give the Avs a 5-1 lead.
The ply started to shift slightly and the Avs were spending far too much time in their own end. Shattenkirk sent another point shot that was deflected in beautifully by Hedman. But Rantanen then tucked one in after going cost to coast and stopping on a dime, beating Vaselevsky to give the Avalanche an ultimate 6-2 lead to end the game.
With their seventh victory of the year, the Avalanche won sure-handedly against a quality opponent to bring their unbeaten (in regulation) streak to seven games.