Colorado Avalanche: Christmas Bloodbath in Arizona

GLENDALE, AZ - DECEMBER 23: Josh Archibald
GLENDALE, AZ - DECEMBER 23: Josh Archibald /

The Colorado Avalanche had a surprisingly heated game against the Arizona Coyotes. Players were falling left and right.

The Colorado Avalanche seemed to be involved in one of those slasher Christmas movies last night. About midway through the second period, play got ugly between them and the Arizona Coyotes.

It started early in the game, in the first period. Defenseman Tyson Barrie blocked a shot by Oliver Ekman-Larsson. Unfortunately it hit him in the hand area:

Avs insider Adrian Dater reported that Barrie “may have a broken hand.” The team announced that he would not be returning to the game anyway. That will be a big loss for the Avalanche and a real pity for Tyson — he was having a career season.

The action got really bloody in the second period. Goon Left winger Zac Rinaldo hit center Nathan MacKinnon late and high. MacKinnon dropped to the ice. Young, small defenseman Samuel Girard, likely not aware that Rinaldo is NOT a skill player like his soccer counterpart (Cristiano) and who does, in fact, have around 80 fights to his name, skates over just to give Rinaldo a little gentlemanly elbow tug.

Rinaldo responded with this:

There’s no place in hockey for that — there never was, even in the wild 1990s. Rinaldo drops the gloves and sucker punches Girard in the face — personally, it looks to me like he hit him with his elbow pad, which is even more cowardly. That’s just trying to injure the young man, not engage him in a fair fight.

MacKinnon thought so, too. He came charging over to protect his teammate like a bull that’s seen red:

And then all hell broke loose. Defenseman Erik Johnson started flailing his fists like he was ready to take on the entire Coyotes bench, but he finally settled on the goon winger goon who started it all — Rinaldo:

Here’s the entire sequence:

Luckily, after going through the concussion protocol, Sam Girard returned to the game. However, with Barrie and Girard out and Johnson serving seven minutes of penalties, there was a lot of time that the Colorado Avalanche were running just three defensemen.

Nathan MacKinnon got ejected from the game for being involved in a second fight.

By the time Tyson Jost took a high stick to the mouth, leaving him spitting blood and possibly teeth, we were wondering how many players you can lose and still participate in a game. (I was wondering that anyway.)

The Colorado Avalanche ended up smashing the Arizona Coyotes 7-2.