Anne-Marie Sorvin-USA TODAY Sports
Final Score: Colorado Avalanche – 3 Vancouver Canucks – 2
*The Colorado Avalanche are currently in first place in the Central Division.
*Let me repeat that: THE COLRADO AVALANCHE LEAD THE CENTRAL DIVISION!
*The work isn’t over, there are still two games left to be played, but at worst the Avs will finish second in the division.
*With 41 wins, Semyon Varlamov now holds the record for most wins in a season for the Avs.
*This has been an absolutely magical season. And it’s not over.
*As for the game, I have to give credit to the Canucks. They could’ve packed things in given that their season is over and their front offense is a mess, but they played hard and fought the Avs to the end.
*I’m glad we don’t have to see the Sedin twins eight times a year anymore. Those boys just create havoc every time they are on the ice together. The first goal of the game was your typical Sedin goal. A lot of short crisp passes, Henrik goes to the front, the shot gets on net, and Henrik tips it in.
*The rest of the Canucks weren’t great, although David Booth’s goal was really good, but Sedin twins nearly stole this one with twin magic.
*And they would’ve stole it if not for Varlamov. He made 38 saves, including 19 in the third period. The Avs were outshot 20-9 in the third period, but outscored the Canucks 3-1 thanks to timely plays and Varly being Varly.
*Varly’s biggest save came after the Avs took a 3-2 lead when he stoned Alex Edler in deep with the glove. He let out a big yell after making that one.
*Along with Varly, Paul Stastny was great. He scored two goals, was aggressive, and played smart defensively.
*Stastny’s first goal came after the Sedin twins we controlling things in the Avs zone until Stastny made a great defensive play at the blueline, stole the puck, and then went in alone on Jacob Markstrom where he beat him five-hole for the goal.
*The second goal was a thing of beauty. Patrick Roy loaded up with Stastny, Gabe Landeskog, and Nathan MacKinnon and it paid off with some outstanding passing. All three guys, along with defensemen Erik Johnson and Jan Hejda, made short, crisp, tape-to-tape passes. The end result was MacKinnon finding Johnson in the slot, Markstrom making the save, and Stastny finishing off the rebound.
*The game was tied with less than 10 minutes to go. So of course it was Tyson Barrie time.
*As always: Tyson Barrie is clutch. And clutch it everything in life.
*Barrie and Max Talbot broke in on a two-on-one. Barrie dragged around the sliding defenseman and then fired the puck past Markstrom to give the Avs the lead.
*More than the move, I loved Barrie’s selfishness to shoot the puck on the two-on-one. No disrespect to Talbot, but I’d much rather Barrie shoot the puck than try to force things over to Talbot, who doesn’t have the greatest hands in the world.
*John Mitchell got a well-deserved empty net goal. I thought he played a really strong game that would’ve gone unnoticed in the box score if not for the goal.
*The Avs had a lot of trouble getting the puck out of their own zone in the first two periods, but seemed to do better in the third. Clearing the zone has been a problem for the team most of the season and hopefully it gets corrected soon.
*Roy and Francois Allaire have done great work with Varly this year, but it looks like they’ve taught him how to stickhandle as well. Avs fans remember that it used to be an adventure every time Roy came out to handle the puck, and while it’s not quite as bad with Varly due to the restrictions, things rarely seem to go well when he leaves his crease to play the puck.
*Nathan MacKinnon is not a normal 18-year old. He took a hard crash into the net in this game, went to the locker room for about two seconds, and was right back on the ice. Not only that, but when Ryan Kessler went after him, MacKinnon didn’t back down.
*That’s what I‘ve loved about MacKinnon all year. More than the goals, assists, speed, etc…, I’ve loved his hockey courage. The kid doesn’t back down and seemingly can’t be knocked off his game.
*Brad Malone doesn’t play much, but he’s noticeable every time he’s on the ice. He has a smart and aggressive style that is perfect for the Avs fourth line.
*One last time: YOUR CENTRAL DIVISION LEADING COLORADO AVALANCHE!
Next Game: Friday at San Jose Sharks