The Colorado Avalanche were out-classed in their preseason road game against the Minnesota Wild, losing 4-3 in regulation, but there were signs of life coming from their mostly-AHL squad on Saturday afternoon, especially from someone who is very ready to start in professional hockey career.
Conor Timmins scored his first goal since his two-goal night on 4/20/2018 as a member of the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds. It was a 3-2 playoff win at home against the Kitchener Rangers in Game 1 of the OHL Conference Finals. The Greyhounds would go on to win that round before losing to the Hamilton Bulldogs in the OHL FInals.
Timmins played more than anyone else on the Avs roster — 23:39 in all situations and 12:06 at 5v5 to be exact. Timmins has come a long way since his concussion last summer, it was a really great feeling seeing him get that monkey off his shoulder. He’s back!
It’s pretty remarkable Conor Timmins looks as good as he does after not playing hockey games for 18 months.— Evan Rawal (@evanrawal) September 21, 2019
Andre Burakovsky - Sheldon Dries - J.T. Compher
Valeri Nichushkin - Erik Condra - Ty Tynan
Ty Lewis - Shane Bowers - Jayson Megna
Martin Kaut - Vladislav Kamenev - A.J. Greer
Dan Renouf - Kevin Connauton
Ryan Graves - Conor Timmins
Anton Lindholm - Mark Alt
- The Avs barely had the puck to start the period and were definitely scrambling every time they faced a rush against.
- Dumba scored from point shot. Defense backed off too much. 0-1.
- Nichushkin had a solo rush but carried no speed and only got off a mediocre shot. I worry about his straight line speed a little bit. He does his job defensively quite well and gets where he needs to be in all three zones. He’s very much not the prototypical Russian player from the 80s. I think there’s a place on the team for someone like him.
- Graves hit the crossbar after getting a free puck on the far wing from a rush.
- Lewis hits Wild guy high, takes penalty.
- Megna and his boys got in a big fight in front of the Minnesota net after a whistle. Seeler knocked down Greer and Renouf jumped down from the point and punched Seeler in the face after whistle for revenge.
- Minnesota basically had a power play all period, even when the two sides had the same number of skaters on the ice. 5v5 shot attempts were 5-17 for Minnesota and shots were worse (2-10).
Avs now on a 0/30 PP streak with three blown 5 on 3 advantages going back to the prospect showcase in Anaheim— AJ Haefele (@AJHaefele) September 21, 2019
- Ty Lewis tied the game early after Dubnyk decided to go for a walk in his own zone. The goal was a gift and it got the Avs right back into the game early in the second despite an awful first period.
- Jason “Almost Traded” Zucker scored right after Lewis, potting home a great pass from Mats Zuccarello. It was a brilliant pass and all the Avs were in their correct positions but just couldn’t compete with that quality play.
- As the period went on, Seeler started to go after everyone, grabbed Kaut’s stick during a forecheck and pushed him down.
- Later in the period, the two decided to get into a fight.
Here's what led to the scrap. pic.twitter.com/T3UR3CTm78— Ryan Quigley (@RP_Quigs) September 21, 2019
- This dude seriously needs to chill.
- The Avs were pushing to tie the game, but got themselves extended too far and gave up a 2-on-1 to Eric Staal. The NHL vet kept the puck and roofed it on Francouz to restore a two-goal lead.
- At the buzzer, Jayson Megna buried some garbage, bringing the Avs back to the same deficit they had at the start of the period.
GOAL. Dubnyk allows a rebound and Megna scores with two seconds left in the period. pic.twitter.com/e0byQCGsiT— Ryan Quigley (@RP_Quigs) September 21, 2019
- The Wild started the period with a parade to the penalty box. The Avs were on the power play for eight of the first 13 minutes, but couldn’t get a single thing going for themselves. They got 13 shota attempts, and eight shots on goal (four scoring chances), but they couldn’t get a single thing past Dubnyk.
In their defense, the Avs didn’t bring their first power play unit, so going 0/8 in the game wasn’t the biggest surprise in the world (it was still a huge bummer). One bright spot was Conor Timmins’ play at the point. After a full season away from the ice, he ran the power play like a pro and led the way with four shot attempts on the PP.
Timmins was later rewarded with a goal that must’ve been a huge sigh of relief to him, his family and friends, and his supporters. His movement and confidence on his goal is definitely something to be encouraged about. He did this against the mostly-NHL Wild!
- Before the Timmins goal, Zuccarello got a goal for himself, completing his three-point night
- The Avs could’ve won this game, but results aren’t what matter right now, performances do. I really liked Timmins’ game. He is well on his way to returning to being a high-calibre NHL prospect after his injury. We also musn’t forget that he’s still only 21 years and three days old!
- I also liked Shane Bowers’ game. He impressed me a lot in the rookie tournament and he kept up his style of play in this game. He was carrying the puck and pushing play towards the Wild end. He led the team in 5v5 shot attempts while playing 18 minutes in all situations — fifth among forwards in ice time.
Here is a longer version of the Timmins goal and you can see both he and Bowers really pushing the play and fighting for the ice they want. Those signs, beyond the points, are what really excites me about these two prospects.
- On the other side, Martin Kaut doesn’t look quite ready for the NHL. He struggled massively to win puck battles and got mobbed by that Nick Seeler guy for much of the second period. It’s not a bad thing to send a guy with raw tools but without the toolbox to put them all in to the AHL. It’s might take a year or two but I still believe there’s a player in Kaut, there’s just a lot of work to be done first.