After a thrilling overtime win and Cale Makar’s instant classic goal the other night the Colorado Avalanche were back at home to kick off a three-game home stand. Enter a division foe in the Winnipeg Jets for the first time this season and their first meeting since New Year’s Eve 2019. Early on it seemed this could be a tightly contested affair but the Avalanche’s best players made a statement in a 7-1 victory.
It wasn’t the greatest start as the Avalanche gave up the first goal on their 28th ranked penalty kill just three minutes into the game as Mark Scheifele found a juicy rebound left behind by Avalanche netminder Darcy Kuemper.
The Avalanche engaged in a bit of a tug-of-war with the Jets for the rest of the period. Bowen Byram hit the post on a 3-on-2 for a close call but then Erik Johnson fired a shot from the point which Nazem Kadri tipped at 16:20 to tie the game for his 42nd point of the season. After 20 it was a pretty even period with the Jets holding a slight shot advantage 13-11 but both teams were skating well and trading chances.
The Avalanche decided to get to work in the second period as they traded power plays with the Jets but found a 18-7 shot advantage and 70% share of expected goals. The top dogs had their way as Gabe Landeskog started off the second period by depositing a rebound on on a Mikko Rantanen shot on the man advantage at 5:20. Rantanen got his own goal by driving the net at 10:28 and then Landeskog got another of his own five minutes later to end the second frame with a 4-1 Avalanche lead.
The Jets started the third period off with two power plays and generated some momentum from them which still put the game in doubt. After the couple successful kills Nathan MacKinnon put the dagger in with the Avalanche’s fifth tally when he scored his fourth goal of the season at 12:17. It was a great shot but a very nice breakout by both Byram and Sam Girard who each received assists on the play.
One more penalty needed killing before Gabe Landeskog scored for his fourth career hat trick at 17:10 as the Avalanche put the game completely to bed at that point. His hard work in front of the net rewarded Landeskog well this evening.
For the touchdown — or the Brazil, whichever you prefer — Byram made good on his earlier hit post and scored the team’s seventh goal of the night on a 4-on-3 power play with ten seconds left for a 7-1 final score. It is just pure joy watching a guy as talented as he is healthy and on the ice doing what he does best. The score was Byram’s fifth goal of the season, which despite him playing in just his 16th contest leads all rookie defensemen and also gives him 11 points on the year.
As out of hand the score quickly became in the second period this game felt a lot more competitive than the boxscore reads. The Jets had multiple dangerous chances all game long and put up 35 shots on goal with five power plays. Both teams were skating hard and disrupting plays which led to chances the other way. The Avalanche capitalized on their opportunities which was the difference.
There were a lot of quality performances in this contest but it was a monster night for the top line. All three of Mikko Rantanen, Nathan MacKinnon and Gabe Landeskog took control and set the tone especially after getting down by a goal early in the game.
Nathan MacKinnon (1-4—5), Gabriel Landeskog (3-1—4) & Mikko Rantanen (1-2—3) each had 3+ points in the same game for the 6th time. One trio in @Avalanche / Nordiques history has done so more: Peter Stastny, Anton Stastny & Michel Goulet (11x).#NHLStats: https://t.co/5Ur8AtNhT7 pic.twitter.com/3ayznjgr7X— NHL Public Relations (@PR_NHL) January 7, 2022
The Avalanche continue their incredible record at home with their tenth straight win at Ball Arena for a 12-2-1 overall record. Things haven’t been as easy on the road at a 8-6-1 clip but hopefully the momentum from a good homestand will carry forward.
A rematch with the Toronto Maple Leafs with hopefully a better result at Ball Arena on Saturday, January 8th and note the early time at 5 p.m. MT.