After a disappointing loss to the Sharks on Monday night, the Colorado Avalanche were able to bounce back with a hard fought 4-0 victory Wednesday in San Jose.
In a game that could be described as “boring” at times, it was Colorado’s best players who helped the team end their road trip on a winning note. Both goals game with the top line on the ice while Philipp Grubauer was able to regain his form, turning away all 26 shots he faced.
The victory came at a cost though, as Nathan MacKinnon left the game early in the third, after taking a pretty bad hit to the head. Hopefully the Avs superstar was held out for precautionary purposes but he definitely didn’t look like he was feeling great as he left the ice.
The Avalanche came out of the gate with a lot of jump. Play was a lot quicker and to a man, they looked a lot more comfortable than we’ve seen in a while. Unfortunately, the solid play didn’t translate to anything on the score board as the Avs and Sharks finished a rather uneventful first period tied 0-0. The Avalanche had one powerplay that didn’t generate a whole lot but outside of that, this really wasn’t the most exciting 20 minutes of hockey.
The second started off a lot like the previous period. Solid possession play from the Avalanche, decent defensive play from the Sharks and not a whole lot of action around either net. Finally, nearly three quarters of the way through the period, the deadlock was broken and it was the Avs Big-3 that got it done.
Mikko Rantanen scored his team leading ninth of the season as he finished a play set up by Nathan MacKinnon and Gabriel Landeskog.
It was the only scoring that would come in the period - thanks to the post behind Philipp Grubauer - as the Avalanche would head into the second intermission with a 1-0 lead.
The Avalanche were able to extend their lead early in the final frame as Sam Girard scored his fourth goal of the season with assists from Rantanen and Landeskog.
With a little breathing room, the Avalanche were cruising along on their way to victory until Nathan MacKinnon took a really ugly hit to the head from Sharks forward Joachim Blichfeld midway through the period. It was an ugly play - for which Blichfeld was assessed a match penalty. MacKinnon clearly wasn’t feeling right as he struggled to get to his feet. He went straight to the dressing room and didn’t return to the game.
Early in the five minute power play, the Avalanche were able to extend the lead as Landeskog was able to tuck the puck past Martin Jones - Kadri and Rantanen were credited with the assists.
The Avalanche weren’t done there as Mikko Rantanen scored his second goal while registering his fourth point of the night.
The goal gave Colorado a comfortable lead and allowed them to cruise on to a 4-0 victory on the back of some very solid play from Philipp Grubauer.
The Avalanche return home for a two game weekend series against the Anaheim Ducks starting Friday night. In the meantime, everyone will be holding their breath that Nathan MacKinnon is ok.