Colorado Avalanche: Power-Play Comes Up Big


The Colorado Avalanche played the second game of a back-to-back last night against the San Jose Sharks and came away with a much needed victory.

Nathan MacKinnon came away with a hat trick and the Colorado Avalanche came away with a victory. They scored 4 power-play goals and killed every penalty they faced.

More importantly, the Nashville Predators won last night, and so the Colorado Avalanche remain within striking distance with the victory. They are still four points out from the last spot in the playoffs, but they’re 6-1-1 in the last eight games, so there’s hope.

Here’s how it broke down.

First Period

The Colorado Avalanche allowed the first 6 shots on goal, but then got a power-play midway through the period, and Nathan MacKinnon finished off a great tic-tac-toe passing play.

Carl Soderberg had a great night, and he picked up the primary assist on MacK’s goal who had no difficulty shooting into the open net.

The Sharks answered less than a minute and a half later on a great shot back Patrick Marleau. Calvin Pickard got a little bit of the shot with his glove, but not enough to keep it from going in.

Jack Skille fanned on the pass back to his defense from the neutral zone, and Marleau took a pass from his teammate off his skates, to his stick, and in the net.

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The Colorado Avalanche had four power-play opportunities in the first period, and scored on two of them.

They would get their fourth opportunity with 6:19 remaining in the period, and Carl Soderberg scored on a great tip off a shot from the point by Francois Beauchemin.

They took that 2-1 score into the 2nd period, and did not surrender the lead for the rest of the game.

Second Period

Matt Duchene scored his most beautiful goal this season, witness:

Just a nice hard working play by Dutchy, and a sweet turnaround backhand. That play gave the Colorado Avalanche a 3-1 lead, but San Jose would answer just 2:39 later.

Melker Karlsson scored from the mid slot on a phenomenal pass by Joe Thornton from behind the goal line. And so the Sharks once again made the game close.

That turned out to be it for the second period as the Avs took a 3-2 lead into the third.

Third Period

The Sharks started the third period strong, and things were looking rather sketchy for the Colorado Avalanche at the beginning of the period. However, the harpoon to the Sharks last night were their numerous penalties.

They took another penalty early in the third and the Avs were able to capitalize again on a great tip by Blake Comeau in front of the net. Erik Johnson recognized Comeau’s stick on the ice and fired a nice pass straight to the tape for a tip top shelf.

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Once again, the Sharks answered with a goal 58 seconds later. It was definitely Calvin Pickard’s worst goal of the night as he seemed unprepared for Tomas Hertl’s five-hole shot when he came around from the behind the net.

No problem though because the Sharks would take another penalty just 16 seconds after Hertl scored. And, the Avs made no mistake in capitalizing again on the power-play. Carl Soderberg made a fantastic pass again, good enough for the video:

I mean that’s just great, a beaut of a pass to MacK for an easy finish. That was MacK’s second of the night, and the Avs ran away with it.

That made it 5-3 for the Colorado Avalanche. Nathan MacKinnon would add one more in the empty net for the hat-trick and a 6-3 victory for the Colorado Avalanche.

Players That Stood Out

Here’s your three stars of the game:

First star — Carl Soderberg G: 1 A: 2 P: 3 TOI: 18:18 +/-: 0

Second star — Nathan MacKinnon G: 3 A: 0 TOI: 18:12 +/-: 0

Third star: Matt Duchene G: 1 A: 0 TOI: 17:21 +/-: 0

Carl Soderberg played his best game in a Colorado Avalanche uniform last night. Both of his assists were scorched with accuracy, and they helped get Nathan MacKinnon back in the goal scoring column. He also drew two of the Colorado Avalanche’s 6 penalties.

Speaking of Nathan MacKinnon, he scored his first goal in 14 games, and notched another two just for good measure, recording the 2nd hat-trick of his career. He was flying last night, and I like the fact that he is able to dictate the offense on his own line now.

Matt Duchene is also playing on his own terms while on a line with John Mitchell and Andreas Martinsen during the game. He only scored one goal, but it was a beauty. Plus, he drew three penalties of his own last night.

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Finally, Calvin Pickard really stood out as well. He faced 38 shots total, and kept the Avalanche in the game early. He let in one bad goal on the shot by Tomas Hertl, but was able to hold off the Sharks effectively enough for a win.

His 35 saves was certainly a good bid, and it gave Semyon Varlamov a night off to prepare for a chance to win his 9th straight against the Blackhawks on New Year’s Eve.

On Tap

As mentioned, the Colorado Avalanche will play the Chicago Blackhawks on the cusp of the 2016. Puck Drop is at 6:00 PM Mountain time.

I love New Year’s games. Last year the Colorado Avalanche played an exciting contest against the Flyers on the 31st, winning in overtime.

It was a fun contest to attend, and so will this year’s because there is no better to way to ring in the New Year than with hockey.

The Avs will have a nice two day break in preparation for another Central Division competition, and another chance to find the next rung in the journey to the playoffs.

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That’s all I’ve got for this late night write folks, so stop by again tomorrow for another edition of the midseason grade. On the docket for tomorrow is Andreas Martinsen because Marty is becoming a fan favorite and he deserves a bit of attention.

Let’s hear it Avs fans, what did you think of last night’s contest? Will MacK hit the speed booster into dominance again now that he’s free to dictate his own offensive terms. The “Nine Line” was split up amongst three different line combinations last night, what’s the Avs Nation opinion of that? Let us know in the comments!