The Colorado Avalanche beat the Winnipeg Jets 3-2 in overtime last night. I say 4 in the title because if you watched the game they actually scored in overtime twice. The first goal was ruled offsides though and did not count. To the Avalanches credit, though they got right back to work and ended it shortly after, we will get to that a bit later.
The Avalanche still seems to struggle against the bigger more physical teams in the NHL right now, especially without captain Gabe Landeskog to help bring the physicality back to the opposition. The team showed me a lot of character in this win. Alexander Kerfoot stood out a lot to me in this one. Not just because of his stat line where he finished with 1 goal and 1 assist but because of the way he played. He is much smaller than many of the players on the Jets and the Jets looked to take advantage of that. Kerfoot was absolutely crushed a few times in last nights game and he just kept getting back up and sticking with the play. Even when he was knocked off his feet he was tenacious enough to get back up and track down the puck and keep the play alive. That really impressed me. He has had a good first season in the NHL but there will come certain points where he is going to get challenged and I think tonight was one of those games physically speaking. In my opinion, he passed that test as long as he can stay healthy he seems to have the tenacity and work ethic to stick with the physical play of a team like the Jets.
Another keynote from last night was that it was the first game back for goaltender Semyon Varlamov. After letting in a goal early in the first period he played a solid rest of the game finishing with 31 saves on 33 shots against. He did not have to make any highlight reel style saves the game to the team’s credit, but he played solid and made the saves that he should to keep them in a game like that. It looks like he is shaking off the illness that he had been out with and that is exciting to see for Avalanche fans. Varlamov was looking more like himself this season then he has in the last few years before going down with the sickness.
Johnson continues to play some of his best hockey we have seen to date from him. I think that this could be his best overall season of his career regardless of points. Mackinnon also continues to show us that his elevation in his game may not just be a temporary thing but could be just that he has finally taken another big step forward in his development. He is the leading scorer in the NHL from October 28th to last nights game. Before the game started he had 28 points in that time first in the NHL. I will have another story breaking down Mackinnon and what he has been doing differently this season shortly so keep on the lookout for that.
One last fun thing to note is that Big z got his third goal of the season last night! It tied the game up late and allowed the team to come back in overtime and win it. “You can’t hope to stop big Z you can only hope to contain him” was a quote in the post-game show that made me chuckle, way to go everyone at Altitude Sports and Entertainment!
When the game started in overtime the Avalanche had a powerplay that carried over into the extra period. The team quickly scored a goal that was either scored by Mackinnon (or tipped by Mikko in front) unfortunately for the team it was ruled that Tyson Barrie was offsides so the goal was disallowed (I guess it didn’t matter that he was basically slew footed and that was why he couldn’t stay on sides but that’s a story for another time.. ) The Avalanche to their credit got right back on the ice and went back to work on the power play and ended it shortly after for real this time when Nathan Mackinnon buried a wrister from the slot and there was no controversy on that one counting.
This was yet another evidence to me that this team is not the same as last season if you still don’t buy into that then think about what the team would have done last season when the game-winner in overtime was disallowed? Sulk a little and think that isn’t fair, we should have won and then let the jets march back down the ice and win it? Sound familiar? yeah, that seems to be last years season in a microcosm. This years team thought according to Kerfoot after the game that they still had a lot of power play time left and they got back on the ice and ended it.
here is a tweet from the Avalanche with the game winner!
The team now stands at 12-9-2 on the season. What do you think of how the season has progressed so far? Are you excited about the direction the team is heading? Do you like the line changes tonight with Landeskog out? Do you think we should put someone else on the top line instead of Sven? Let us know in the comments and we can continue the discussion!
Until next time, #LetsGoAvs!