One game back at home before the Thanksgiving holiday the Colorado Avalanche were looking to bounce back from that heartbreaking last minute loss in Nashville. In what might become a statement win for Avalanche the stars shone bright and walked away with a 5-2 victory.
Considering this was a match between two high powered offenses it was a bit of a surprise that it took nearly the entire first period before a goal was scored. The Avalanche earned the first power play of the game but did absolutely nothing with it and right after it the Canucks fourth line found pay dirt at 16:23 from Nils Hoglander after sound lax defensive zone coverage.
The Avalanche earned another power play and chance at redemption just over a minute later when Val Nichushkin deposited a gorgeous pass from Mikko Rantanen past Thatcher Demko at 17:37.
But the Avalanche weren’t done as at 18:43 they executed one of the most gorgeous in-zone plays of the season thus far on a tip goal from Jonathan Drouin on a rocket of a shot from Cale Makar after some fancy footwork from Bowen Byram. Just a high-skill play all around and the home team took a 2-1 lead into the first intermission.
The second period was bizarre start to finish as six separate penalties were called including three straight minors on the Avalanche. As those were nearly killed off Josh Manson took a five minute major and a game misconduct for getting his stick up high on Brock Boeser. A few more penalties were called and on the 4-on-4 at 9:04 JT Miller snuck a puck past Alexandar Georgiev that he’d like to have back in what was otherwise a strong performance and the game was tied 2-2 after 40 minutes of play.
Regular 5-on-5 play returned for the third period and initially it favored the Avalanche as they again a minute into the period grabbed the lead by none other than Riley Tufte who was called up at the last minute to take Logan O’Connor’s place in another last minute lineup surprise. Tufte parked his big frame in front of the net and deflected off his leg for what was eventually the game winning goal.
Vancouver then executed a come back push through the middle of the period and had the Avalanche on their heels. But it was perhaps the biggest star to take the ice for either team who showed up in a big moment as Cale Makar punctuated this win with an enormous goal at 12:38. Makar made it all happen on his own as he stripped Miller at the blueline and then buried the puck on a breakaway.
With the momentum back and game in hand Mikko Rantanen deposited an empty net goal to arrive at a satisfying 5-2 win for the Avalanche.
Quietly Jonathan Drouin had a very nice game for the Avalanche and earned second star of the game. With a goal and assist it might have been his best performance of the season not only in the boxscore but also his involvement in the play the whole game. He led the team in Corsi For with a 68.42% and was second in expected goals at 75.50% only to Makar. Hopefully this is a performance for him to build off of.
Val Nichushkin extended his goal streak to five game as he continues his hot performance as of late. He even missed the end of the second period as he was getting stitched up from a collision with Mark Friedman at the net front. Getting contributions from him plus some of the other depth forwards is what makes this a really dangerous team in addition to the superstar type performances the team comes to expect from the likes of Cale Makar.
Amother Central Division match at the Minnesota Wild at 6 p.m. MT on Friday, November 24th. This game will be nationally televised on TNT and MAX.