The Colorado Avalanche and Detroit Red Wings faced off in a game that felt like one of those famous 1990s matchups between these two. This was mostly in part to yet another high scoring game, this time with the Avs pulling away 7-3 Friday night.
With chants of “Red Wings suck!” filling the crisp Mile High air in Ball Arena, the Avs pulled away in the end to win by the same result for the second game in a row. It was yet another chaotic affair for the burgundy and blue in this up-and-down season.
The Avs came out flying. In a sea of red jerseys at Ball Arena, J.T. Compher made his return in emphatic fashion to silence those Red Wings fans with a deflection down low after Devon Toews sent one to the net. He deflected it past Thomas Greiss for the early 1-0 lead.
It wouldn’t stop there. After some phenomenal zone time, Alex Newhook found himself between the circles. Rather than shoot through traffic, he dished it off to Andre Burakovsky who smoked it into the twine for the 2-0 lead.
The Wings got angry, as Moritz Seider knocked down Logan O’Connor with his numbers facing away him straight on and sent him crashing into the boards. It looked like the 90’s again, as Gabriel Landeskog and LOC both went at him causing a scrum.
Despite not converting on the power play, Nicolas Aube-Kubel completed a beautiful backhand pass to Darren Helm on the breakaway who put it past Griess and back-stabbed his old team of 14 years to make it 3-0.
That was the end of the night for Greiss, as Alex Nedeljkovic came in. It was the second night in a row that a Red Wings goaltender had been chased. With “Red Wings suck!” chants raining down from Ball Arena, the Red Wings would put those chants to rest.
Burakovsky’s pocket was picked, and Vladislav Namestnikov put one home on a 2-on-1 late to make it 3-1 heading into the room.
With the late goal in the first, the Red Wings would use that momentum. Joe Veleno would sneak one through the five-hole of Darcy Kuemper which he will surely want to have back. Nonetheless, it was looking to be close with it now being 3-2.
The Avs, however, would come roaring back. Just over 30 seconds later, Nathan MacKinnon smacked one from his spot on the left circle to make it 4-2. Just 30 seconds after that, Burakovsky would get the puck off the face-off and pull off a nifty backhander and a 5-2 lead for his second goal of the night.
The Avs were rolling once again, and they didn’t look to be slowing down. Sam Girard finessed his way into the slot and then sent it glove-side of Nedeljkovic top corner through a screen. Just like that it was a four goal advantage, now 6-2.
With the Avs looking to just close it out, they found themselves in penalty trouble and it bit them in the behind. Fillip Hronek beat Kuemper from way up high on the one-timer and he wasn’t quick enough to stop it and it was 6-3.
Sometime after this, Landeskog went down the tunnel during the media timeout, unknown as to why to anyone. It was something to keep an eye on heading into the third where the Avs looked to close it out. He wouldn’t return to the game.
The story of the period would come not from the offense, but in the form of Kuemper. Early on, he made three big saves and then continued to do what was asked of him. The Avs had chances on the man advantage but could not convert.
With the game still a little too close for comfort, the Red Wings continued to push the issue. The defense was looking a little shaky, and Kuemper bailed them out multiple times. Burakovsky and Makar were also stopped brilliantly by Nedeljkovic at the other end.
After Makar committed a rough cross-checking penalty, the Red Wings pulled their goalie in a desperate effort. Makar would come out of the box and send it down into the empty net to finish it off 7-3.
The Avs cannot stop scoring. They’ve now scored 76 goals in 14 games for the sixth straight win at home for an NHL record for the first time since the 1970s. With that being said, they cannot stop letting goals in. They average over three goals allowed per game, one of the highest in the league with teams outside of the playoff race. This falls on Kuemper who should’ve saved a couple of the Red Wings’ goals, along with the defense faltering at points. While it’s great now to score so many, the Avs need to clean it up in the back come playoff season.
Despite leaving the game early due to injury, Landeskog recorded an assist to get a point in his tenth straight game. This is the longest streak of his career, and he will hopefully continue that soon. Hopefully his LBI isn’t too severe and he can continue that point streak when he returns.
The Avs have now won six straight games at home. While going on the road has been a struggle this season, it is good to know that at home they have their mark printed on the ice and making it known it is tough to come play in Colorado, let alone earn a win against this side.
The home stand continues for the Avalanche, as they welcome in one of the top teams in the league in the Florida Panthers who are leading the Eastern Conference. Puck drop is Sunday, December 12th at 6:00 p.m. MT.