Oct 27, 2013; Denver, CO, USA; Winnipeg Jets center Mark Scheifele (55) controls the puck as Colorado Avalanche defenseman Tyson Barrie (4) defends in the first period at Pepsi Center. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

What We Learned: Avalanche – Jets


It wasn’t as pretty or as dominant as we’re used to seeing so far this season, but the Avalanche are 10-1-0 and that’s all that matters. The team has matched a franchise record for wins in October set back in 2009-10.

So far, the Avalanche are taking advantage of this home-stand that will see them play six of seven in The Can. They were dominant Friday and learned they can rally a bit following Sunday’s victory.

Let’s get to it and see what we learned in the 3-2 win over the Jets.

Adversity Is Good

While everyone would love to be dominating from start to finish, it’s just not that likely to happen especially considering the youth of this team and where it was as of last year. So it was a good thing to see the Avalanche have to battle back for once.

Oct 27, 2013; Denver, CO, USA; Winnipeg Jets defenseman Dustin Byfuglien (33) hip checks Colorado Avalanche right wing Marc-Andre Cliche (24) in the second period at Pepsi Center. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

Of course, the way the first period went, the game could’ve been over in the first ten minutes. The Avalanche came out flying, setting off the red light and the horn in the Pepsi Center twice before Matt Duchene tallied a goal that counted midway through the first.

The Jets answered before the period was out and took it to the Avs in the second, taking a 2-1 lead into the third period. It was the first time this season that the Avalanche had trailed after two periods; pretty impressive considering it was the 11th game of the year.

They showed their depth when Jan Hejda scored on an absolute bomb a little over seven minutes into the period before seeing Paul Stastny bury the eventual game-winner on a pretty play with Gabe Landeskog with a shade over five minutes left.

It’s a long road ahead and it’s good to know that the Avalanche can play from behind, too.

Mediocre Varly

It’s also nice to know that the Avalanche can get a pretty pedestrian performance out of Semyon Varlamov and still come away with the win. Which, look, he wasn’t bad. But he certainly wasn’t good.

All night long, Varly fought pucks off. He looked shaky handling rebounds and just didn’t look as dazzling as he had previously. The second goal from the Jets, a bomb from Blake Wheeler just inside the blue line, was something that should have been stopped instead of trickling through him and into the net.

This isn’t to badmouth Varlamov in the least – the guy has been absolutely outstanding so far and has been putting up numbers that can only be replicated in a video game. So it’s okay that he doesn’t have the greatest of outings and is forgiven even more so when the Avalanche still walk away with a win.

That’s the markings of a great season: winning ugly.

Barrie-ly There

You see what I did there? Huh? Alright.

Anyway, one of the more impressive things to me this season is the performance of the defense and the fact that they’re doing it without a guy many thought incredibly high of: Tyson Barrie.

He’s been a scratch the last few games and saw some action last night, but it’s clear that he’s struggling right now. It’s easy to forget that he’s still adjusting to the NHL game; he had less than a half season rookie year last year. Still, the Avalanche would no doubt be better off with his skating and offensive gifts in the lineup. He gives the defense an added dimension and takes a little pressure off of Andre Benoit in that department.

Hopefully, he’ll figure it out relatively soon if only to give the defense depth and more options. They are thin right now and it got a little worrisome when Erik Johnson injured his foot in practice last week. An injury or two and this group could be turned on its head.

So here’s hoping Tyson gets things going soon.

I Can’t Talk Enough About Matt Duchene

There’s a little bit of a man-crush developing here, but I’m sure you all understand. Duchene has been flat-out dominant in the first month of the season, tying a franchise-record for goals in a month with nine.

Everyone knew he was a talent coming out of that draft and he’s shown flashes and tons of potential since his spectacular rookie season, but it looks like Dutchy might finally be putting it all together. He’s been using his exceptional speed to just wreak havoc on opposing defensemen and he’s done things that just leave me shaking my head and mumbling. The spinning goal he had against Carolina just about sums it up.

He needs to keep it going and be consistent throughout the year to achieve superstar status, but he’s right there. Soon, Matt Duchene’s name will be mentioned with the elite.

Next up: 11/1 @ Dallas 

Ryan is the editor of Mile High Sticking as well as co-owner of The Farm Club. Follow him on Twitter to talk Avs, Sabres, hockey in general, or to let him know what a yutz he is.

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Tags: 2013-14 Season Colorado Avalanche Featured Matt Duchene NHL Paul Stastny Popular Semyon Varlamov Tyson Barrie Winnipeg Jets