We’ve seen Avalanches of goals time and time again. This season so far, there have not been too many performances where the Avs have shined above the rest. However, it was very much the opposite in Game 2 of the NHL Global Series.
The Colorado Avalanche pulled away from the Columbus Blue Jackets in the second period and beat them out 5-1. Saturday afternoon’s performance may have been the best of the season from the Avs, looking like the same dominant team from last year.
The action started early, as the third Finnish forward of the weekend scored. This would be Artturi Lehkonen who converted just 33 seconds in on a 2-on-1 with Nathan MacKinnon to take the lead.
The Avs looked to continue moving forward, with Logan O’Connor almost getting a second goal in two games, and getting plenty of chances from a Gustav Nyquist slashing penalty.
However, a penalty from Colorado’s Sam Girard would be influential, as Boone Jenner would tip in a Zach Werenski shot from the point. Unfortunately, the Avs PK woes continued and the game would be tied at one.
Both netminders did their part to keep the game at one, with both Alexandar Georgiev and Joonas Korpisalo making some key saves late on in the frame. It left a clean slate and still plenty to play for in the middle period.
The slate would not be left clean for long thanks to an outbreak from the Avs. Martin Kaut would get his first goal of the season, and for the first time since the 2019-20 season to take the lead.
Before you knew it, 2:50 later it would be Cale Makar getting on the board for the second game in a row, but with an assist this time. His shot from the circle was tipped by Logan O’Connor, and he would get credit for taking the Avs’s lead to 3-1.
Makar’s defensive partner got in on the action too. On another 2-on-1 with MacKinnon, Devon Toews would put it away past a sprawling Korpisalo. While it was almost a carbon copy of the first goal of the game, it gave the Avalanche a 4-1 lead this time around.
Colorado was far from done as they dominated the period as a whole. They pushed the issue and got even more chances with more odd-man rushes thanks to MacKinnon’s speed. Korpisalo was doing his part to keep the Blue Jackets in it, making save after save.
In the end, Colorado outshot Columbus 17-4 in a dominant 20 minutes. It ended with a heavyweight fight between Kurtis MacDermid and Mathieu Olivier with 1:07 remaining and the Avs on top looking to close it out for the final 20 minutes in Tampere.
The insurance goals kept on coming, as Alex Newhook got involved in the action. He got a nice cross-ice pass from Evan Rodrigues and beat Korpisalo on the one-timer.
Lehkonen continued to push forward and almost got his second goal of the game. However, he was stopped nicely at the post on a wrap-around chance by Jake Bean. Erik Johnson also had a big defensive stop, sliding and blocking a shot away on a 2-on-1 while on his stomach.
The Avs did not come out unscathed though, as Andrew Cogliano blocked a shot off his hand and immediately went down the tunnel. Nonetheless, the Avs shut it down in the third and won out in the end 5-1.
The lineup may have caught people by surprise. Unfortunately, Valeri Nicushkin remained out with injury and did not even take warm-ups, unlike Friday’s game where he was out for warm-ups. Meanwhile, Georgiev got his second straight start in two days and performed well once again, only facing 29 shots. Also, Bowen Byram was kept out of the game despite taking warm-ups with a lower-body injury. Hopefully, they are okay and can come back soon, along with Cogliano who left the game after blocking a shot with his hand in the third period.
Colorado made sure to not repeat the second period as they did on Friday night. Rather than falling behind under the wrath of Columbus's chances, they were the ones putting the Blue Jackets on the back foot. The three goals in 3:28 of the second period were the difference maker in this one, due in part to the depth scoring of the Avs. Kaut got a goal and assist, Newhook and O’Connor got another goal, and Rodrigues got an assist as well. The middle six was great all weekend long, and hopefully, they can bring those great performances state-side after this.
With the second-period performance came the dominance of MacKinnon. While he didn’t score, he had a dominant game with another three assists. He gets seven assists for the weekend and now leads the league for most points in games overseas with eight, scoring a goal back in the 2017 NHL Global Series against the Ottawa Senators.
Nathan MacKinnon has 7 assists this weekend which is the most career helpers by a player in games played outside of North America. His 8 career points (he had 1 goal at 2017 Global Series) are also the most in the history of games outside of North America@Avalanche— Brendan McNicholas (@bmcnich) November 5, 2022
The Avs get an extended break again as they go back to the United States. Upon returning and dealing with the time change, they’ll host the division-rival Nashville Predators Thursday night. Puck drop is at 7:00 p.m. MT.