Avalanche Meet Jets in Winnipeg


“There’s guys up front (in Colorado) that are some really high-end skill level.” Jets head coach Paul Maurice

Both the Colorado Avalanche and the Winnipeg Jets are looking for their third win of the season when they meet at the MTS Center for a matinee game.

Last season, the Jets slightly edged the Avalanche, winning two and only losing one in regulation. The other two games went into overtime, with the Jets gaining the final victory. The matinee game is the first of the divisional series this season.


The teams are coming at the game from two different perspectives. The Avs are coming off of a decisive win against the Vancouver Canucks, during which they outshot the Canucks 48 to 29 and won 7 – 3. The Jets are coming off of a disheartening loss during which they also outshot their opponent, 41 to 24 — but lost 4-2.

Both teams have struggled at the beginning of the season, but the reaction has been different. The Jets did little over the summer. They re-signed forward Michael Frolik to a one-year contract and let goalie Al Montoya go in free agency. Therefore, considering they struggled last season, fan reaction has been along the lines of “What did you expect?”

On the flip side, fan reaction to the Avs’ start of the season has been a wailing, “What’s going on?” Colorado upgraded over the season, losing the injury-prone Paul Stastny but signing powerhouse Jarome Iginla in his place. They also added veterans Daniel Briere and Brad Stuart for depth. Yet they still went 1-4-1 in their first six games. The Avs looked like they were about to explode — and they did, offensively, against the Canucks.They’ll be looking to ride that momentum into the afternoon game in Winnipeg.

Keys to the Game

Offensive Power

If the game against Vancouver is any indication, the Avalanche’s high-octane offense is finally kicking in. They’d been tweaking and looked pert near ready to twerk if it took that to make goals. Finally, 48 shots, and they had goals from six different players for a total of seven.

Star center Matt Duchene summed it up best:

"“As an offensive team, you need to see pucks go in to get your confidence. And to have that many guys score goals, I know that everyone’s going to have a little more jump in their step tomorrow. And the guys that didn’t score, a lot of guys picked up assists as well. It bleeds into the next game.”"

The Jets just don’t have that same level of offensive power. It’s wearing on them, as Winnipeg forward (and former Avalanche) TJ Galiardi said it:

"“It’s frustrating. Whenever you’re all over it, and the ice is tilted so much, and you can’t get it in the net, it’s going to be frustrating for your group.”"

If the Avs can keep up their offense anywhere near the level shown against Vancouver, they’re going to be in good shape against the Jets.


More from Mile High Sticking

No one wants to say it, but starting goalie Semyon Varlamov was not sharp against the Canucks, especially early. Blame it on his mini-sojourn on injured reserve, but he let in a goal on the first shot he faced, and by the first intermission was only at a .75 save percentage after letting in another at the end of the period, though that one was a fluke. He finished the night at .897 percent — not a whole lot better than Vancouver goalie Eddie Lack’s .854 percent.

No telling if Winnipeg is starting starting goalie Ondrej Pavelec or backup Michael Hutchinson. Pavelec got pulled in the game against the Tampa Bay Lightning after allowing four goals on 18 shots. Hutchinson saw the other nine when he started the third period, and he stopped them all, so he may get the not against Colorado.

The Avs are going to need Varlamov to get his mojo back bugh Avalanche hockey allows a lot of shots on net.

Who’s Hot, Who’s Not


Though the entire team played superbly against Vancouver, the Duchene line led the way. The combination of Duchene, Iginla and Alex Tanguay combined for seven points, three of them goals. They were also responsible for 13 of the 48 shots. Even in the previous games, this line has shown that they know they have to lead by example.


Nate MacKinnon is going to start making his shots count. He had four in the game against the Canucks, and even earned an assist on defenseman Erik Johnson’s power play goal. However, he’s the only top offensive player — forward or defenseman — who hasn’t scored a goal.

Head coach Patrick Roy isn’t worried:

"“Nate has plenty of leadership in the locker room.”"

Right now, it seems the Jets offense can’t buy a goal. It doesn’t help that one of their prime scorers, Evander Kane, has been out for two weeks with a knee injury.

The Colorado Avalanche play the Winnipeg Jets at 1:00 pm MDT.