The Colorado Avalanche beat the San Jose Sharks with ease on Tuesday night. The final score ended 7-3 and it got out of hand pretty early on. The Avs needed a performance like this as their 3-3-0 record just wasn’t cutting it so far. A complete game all the way through saw Colorado come out with a big two points.
The first period started like the Avs season has gone so far, playing well but getting unlucky. The Avs had a couple of really quality chances including an amazing passing play that ended with Samuel Girard feeding it across the ice only to have the shot robbed by Martin Jones. However, on the other end of things, the Sharks would get on the board first. Ryan Donato made contact with a bouncing puck and it somehow found its way past Grubauer. It once again looked like the Avs would be fighting the puck all night.
But, everything changed when they found their way past Jones as it was Erik Johnson getting his first of the season with a long shot from the blueline with just under four minutes left in the period. 46 seconds after that, Brandon Saad would fine his second of the year off of a beautiful pass from Cale Makar. Finally, just two minutes later, Mikko Rantanen would score on the powerplay from a dish by Nathan MacKinnon. Just like that, the Avs had a 3-1 lead after 20.
The second started off much like the first ended. The Avs went to the penalty kill early but it was Valeri Nichushkin who stripped the puck at the blueline and went in on a breakaway. He made it 4-1 just 1:32 into the second. It would then be Samuel Girard getting a pass at the point and taking a shot that found its way through a bunch of bodies. This made it 5-1 Avs and would end Martin Jones's night. He let in five goals on 19 shots, however, there wasn’t much he could do on most of them.
The goalie change gave the Sharks a bit of a jump and they would strike back just two minutes later. It was Noah Gregor who slipped through the Avs defence on an offensive rush. He received a pass from Dylan Gambrell and it cut the Avs lead to 5-2. Devan Dubnyk looked solid to start but with six minutes left he couldn’t track a rebound. This dragged him out of his net and let Devon Toews walk in and blast one home unchallenged. The barrage would continue two minutes later as Nazem Kadri would find Andre Burakovsky who fed it to Brandon Saad. That put the Avs up 7-2 while outshooting San Jose 26-12.
The third period had much less happen which was to be expected with such a big lead heading into it. Evander Kane took a pair of penalties and then drew one too. However, nothing happened on any of the power plays. Colorado controlled the bulk of the play but with seven minutes left Logan Couture deflected one home to make it 7-3.
It got very feisty at the end as Toews and Johnson ended up clearing the front of the net. Scrums happened multiple times in the final minute or two. Ryan Graves also received a 10-minute misconduct after taking a minor penalty. However, the Avs would end up winning 7-3.
This was a dominant game from the Avs. It’s very hard to take too many negatives out of this game but really easy to find some positives. Maybe the only thing to comment on was staying out of the box, they took a handful of penalties near the end of the game. However, some of that was the refs keeping things as calm as possible too.
The Avs ended up close to even in the expected goals category. However, a massive part of that was due to score effects. Colorado did a solid job generating chances right in the slot and their talent took full advantage of their opportunities. They also had quite a few point shots go in tonight. Showing teams, they can’t just defend the slot against this potent Avs offence.
Cale Makar and Devon Toews were both outstanding tonight. Girard and Johnson looked really good too. Almost every Avs defenceman dominated while they were on the ice which was a huge factor in the big win. MacKinnon looked as explosive as ever, drawing a penalty in the second using his speed and having an assist. Overall, it was a really solid team game. The vision as a team seemed to be there, everyone was on the same page all night and it led to a huge victory.
As for the Sharks, they looked very underwhelming. Ryan Donato, Kevin Leblanc, and Logan Couture all had alright nights. However, some of their other big names really struggled. Kane was highlighted for the wrong reasons and Brent Burns and Erik Karlsson were caved in all night out there. They need that to change if they want a chance this year. The Sharks now fall to 3-4-0 which puts them in seventh. This division is still very close as four teams currently have eight points.
The Avs next game is Thursday and once again San Jose. The Avs should expect a much better effort then, but this is a chance to start pulling away in the standings.