After losing the season opener, the Colorado Avalanche bounced back nicely Friday night to blow out the St. Louis Blues for their first win of the season in an 8-0 rout. It was the team everyone expected to show up for the opener. The Avs looked great at both ends of the ice, and the team’s best players were the ones leading the way.
After a first period that kept the game close, the floodgates opened and the Avalanche thoroughly embarrassed the Blues on the way to a dominant win.
After starting out very slowly Wednesday, the Avalanche looked a lot more prepared for the second game of the season. Colorado dictated the play and looked more in sync than the first time out, killing off two penalties and demonstrating they were the clearly superior team 5 on 5.
If it were not for Jordan Binnington’s strong play, the Avalanche could have gone into the first intermission up by at least a goal. He made some solid saves, the best of which came off of a tremendous solo effort by Cale Makar.
The score remained tied at zero despite the Avs outshouting St. Louis 12-7 in the opening 20 minutes.
The Avalanche continued to put on the pressure early in the second period. They were finally able to break the deadlock four minutes in as Nathan MacKinnon forced a turnover before finding Gabriel Landeskog wide open in front of the net. The captain buried a wrist shot past Binnington to give the Avalanche a 1-0 lead.
The Avs continued to dictate the play through the middle of the second period. MacKinnon eventually drew a penalty to put the team on its second power play of the game, and this time they were able to capitalize as Andre Burakovsky scored his second PP goal of the season to extend the lead to 2-0; Philipp Grubauer got the assist. The Avs goalie not only made a nice pass to start off the play, but he got away with a high stick on Jordan Schwartz that forced the Blues penalty killer out of the play, leading to a 5-on-3 rush the other way.
Just two minutes later Landeskog reached a notable milestone, scoring for the second time and reaching 200 career NHL goals. The floodgates officially opened as the Avalanche went up 3-0. The lone assist came from Mikko Rantanen who recorded his first point of the season.
Not to be outdone, though, Rantanen decided to grab a milestone of his own. A few minutes later, with the Avalanche back on the power play, Rantanen took a beautiful pass from Makar and was able to convert into a wide open net. It was Colorado’s fourth goal of and the 100th of Rantanen’s career.
The Avs led the NHL in second period goals last season, and it looks as though the trend could continue in 2021, as they went into the second intermission leading 4-0. Colorado ended the period with more goals (4) than the Blues had shots (3).
The Blues decided to give Binnington the rest of the night off as former San Antonio Rampage net minder Ville Husso was positioned between the pipes to start the third. The goalie change didn’t shift momentum away from the Avs, though, as Colorado was able to extend the lead, scoring the third power play goal of the night a little more than a minute into the third frame. This time, it was Nathan MacKinnon doing what he does best, bringing the puck through the neutral zone with unmatched speed. His shot generated a long rebound off Husso, and Nazem Kadri was there waiting to put the puck into the open net. Kadri’s first of the year gave the Avs a 5-0 lead.
The Avalanche weren’t able to get another power play goal, but MacKinnon scored his first of the season, and third point of the night, after taking an amazing pass from Makar. It’s unfair to have a player with this much speed, vision and offensive skill, and the Avalanche have two of them. The goal pushed the lead to 6-0. You won’t see many goals that are prettier.
Thirty seconds later, the Avs converted the touchdown as Joonas Donskoi made the lead 7-0. At this point, do we even need the replays?
The Avalanche weren’t done there. Devon Toews scored his first in burgundy and blue to extend the lead to 8-0. It was the team’s fifth power play goal of the night.
Mercifully, Toews was the last of the night, and just as importantly, the team helped Grubauer grab his first shutout of the season.
- I’m starting to get used to the blue helmets.
- Grubauer looks more than capable of being the top goalie on a contending team.
- Cale Makar is really freaking good.
- Ryan Graves looks like he can handle playing on the right side when needed.
- Conversely, Brandon Saad looked a lot more comfortable on the left wing than he did on the right in game one. Even still, he finished the game with zero points. That’s impressive in this kind of blowout.
- The power play is just fine—going 6-for-7 in the game. It’s amazing how good it can look when the entire five-man unit is actually healthy and in the lineup.
- J.T. Compher was outstanding on the PK.
The Avalanche will be off through the weekend as they travel to Los Angeles for four games against the Kings and Ducks, starting Tuesday night.