A great way to erase the memory of an embarrassing 8-2 loss at home is to turn it around the very next outing at Ball Arena and do the same to another team and the Colorado Avalanche did just that to the visiting Anaheim Ducks.
It wasn’t the homecoming Ducks head coach Greg Cronin had in mind as this contest served as a “get right game” for many Avalanche players as they started strong and put the first 11 shots on the board.
It didn’t take long for Sam Girard to break through for his first goal of the season as he won a net front battle and batted the puck home at 6:40. Exactly five minutes later Val Nichushkin executed his new favorite net front tip shot of his own for the home team’s second score.
At that point the Avalanche were running away with the game but Anaheim got one back 33 seconds before the first period ended from Sam Carrick on his own tip shot. Still, Colorado held a lead and a commanding 17-3 shot advantage after 20 minutes of play.
The lone goal of the second period came from Freddy Oloffson at 14:33 on a hard working play from the fourth line to restore that important two-goal cushion and put the Avalanche in a strong position heading into the final period of play.
When the Avalanche are rolling they own the third periods and this game was no exception as they exploded for five goals en route to this commanding victory. Ross Colton showed off his finishing touch at 3:53 and then Nichushkin got another tip goal on the power play at 5:51 to extend the lead to 5-1.
The Ducks would answer for their second and final score at 9:41 from Max Jones who got a lucky bounce and a puck past Alexandar Georgiev. But it would be no Ducks comeback this evening as the newest Avalanche Joel Kiviranta punctuated the game for the fourth line with a goal at 13:13. And then Andrew Cogliano added his own just 21 seconds later.
Devon Toews added the final tally at 15:18 as the Avalanche closed out this much-needed 8-2 win as they hopefully finally turn the page on that ugly loss last weekend.
When the Avalanche get contributions from their bottom six this team is very difficult to beat. With not one but three goals from the fourth line hopefully they didn’t use up all that magic at once but shows the capability of that line which was sorely missing last season. Kiviranta shined in particular with three points and was named first star of the game.
Conversely the new look second line of Jonathan Drouin, Ryan Johansen and Tomas Tatar had a quiet night which is fine when other lines pick up the slack but all three newcomers together need to find some chemistry and production sooner than later. To be fair, Tatar did have a great steal and set up Girard’s goal early in the game.
Josh Manson continues to be sidelined which put Caleb Jones in the lineup again who didn’t look out of place again but had less impact with fewer minutes needed. Manson is considered day-to-day with an upper body injury.
A big Central Division showdown at the home of the Dallas Stars at 6 p.m. MT on Saturday, November 18th.