In search of a new winning streak the Colorado Avalanche hosted their division rival and leader in the St. Louis Blues on a sunny January afternoon. With some timely goals and contributions through the lineup the Avalanche again exerted home ice advantage against the Blues and took away a 5-2 triumph.
This contest began looking like two of the best teams in the western conference playing each other with a high pace, good level of execution and chances for both the Blues and Avalanche. It was the home team who got on the board first when Nathan MacKinnon scored his 28th goal of the season at 3:41. The play started with Samuel Girard intercepting the puck and then passing it to Mikko Rantanen who then flubbed the puck and directed it back to Girard and then he hit MacKinnon with the cross-crease pass.
Momentum for the Avalanche was halted when the penalty kill would thwart them once again. David Perron got the equalizer with just under two minutes to go after a lengthy possession which the Avalanche could not clear. The first period thus ended tied with only nine shots total among the teams.
The Blues opened the second period scoring just over a minute into the frame when a nifty play between Ryan O’Reilly and Oskar Sundqvist ended up past Philipp Grubauer. But the Avalanche were not going to let the period slip away this time as Tyson Jost scored his first goal since late November at 7:48. The puck may have glanced off Burakovsky but he got the assist on the goal anyway.
That’s all was needed for the dam to break because then Cale Makar happened at 16:26. In a play which perfectly exemplified his elite talents Makar got the zone entry and then walked the blue line to take the puck to his favorite spot on the right side in the high slot and rifled a wrist shot right as Rantanen screened goaltender Jordan Binnington. Magic.
The Avalanche weren’t done in the second period just 22 seconds later as then Burakovsky finally got on the board with his first goal in 14 games when he took a pass from Nikita Zadorov and fired his own bomb of a shot. That goal would chase Binnington for the second consecutive game in Denver. Score was then 4-2 after two periods.
The third period began with the end of a pretty weak 5-on-3 for the Avalanche and predictably that gave life to St. Louis. Alex Pietrangelo cut the lead to one at 7:23 and some tense minutes followed. The Blues pushed hard including a near minute possession with the extra attacker but Gabe Landeskog finally got the empty net goal with two seconds remaining for a 5-3 victory.
- After the third period troubles over the past few weeks it was encouraging to have the Avalanche hold on and take the win especially from a very poised team. It didn’t look pretty at all times but was a step in the right direction.
- Cale Makar seems to be finding his groove again with goals in back-to-back games. He now passed John-Michael Liles for the franchise record of goals from rookie defensemen with 11 and counting. The effort Makar put in to get that goal which gave the Avalanche the lead was another spectacular highlight in an already growing collection of game changing plays.
- With the assist today that marks seven career points for Sam Girard against the Blues, the most against any opponent. He also keeps his point train rolling in the month of January with 10 assists. There’s also this:
Sam Girard passes Ray Bourque in all time points for the avalanche, putting him 49th all time #GoAvsGo— Avs Stats (@avsstats) January 18, 2020
Prior to an 11 day break one final game against the Detroit Red Wings for another matinee match on Monday, January 20th at 1pm MT.