Colorado Avalanche: Sam Girard’s Ankle Breaker on Schenn

DENVER, CO - APRIL 07: Samuel Girard
DENVER, CO - APRIL 07: Samuel Girard /

Colorado Avalanche defenseman Sam Girard continues to impress — even when his plays don’t lead directly to goals.

Lost in the Colorado Avalanche’s home victory over the St. Louis Blues were some individual plays that didn’t lead directly to goals .

For example, goalie Jonathan Bernier made a couple of important pad saves here in the third that maintained Colorado’s two-goal lead:

All told, Bernier stopped 32 shots, which is a pretty normal burden for an Avs goalie.

This isn’t about the Avalanche’s goalie situation, though. Rather, let’s continue to celebrate Samuel Girard. The teen rookie defenseman came over from Nashville as part of the three-team Duchene trade. Thus far, he’s the only tangible part of the trade that’s spent any time with the Avs. However, he’s been making an impact.

Naturally, one of the biggest impacts Girard made in the most recent, playoff-clinching game against the St. Louis Blues was to score the first goal of the game:

That’s only his fourth-ever NHL goal and third as an Avs. (If you don’t count his own-goal, and we’re not going to here.) And that goal against the Blues was clutch for the Avs since they’d dominated the first period but had nothing to show for it on the scoreboard.

Well, later on in the game, with Colorado up 2-0, Girard made an impressive play. He dangles right around center Brayden Schenn, ultimately breaking his ankles:

I can’t help but laugh every time I see Schenn go butt over head across the ice. But it all comes about because of Girard’s skating and stick-handling.

Naturally, we knew right away we had a dangling defenseman on our hands. His first-ever game as an Avalanche player, in Sweden, he made one of the most impressive plays to set up a goal:

Again, he just doesn’t give up on the puck. He has no fear of holding onto it and skating — at 19 years old playing in the best league in the NHL.

Players have teams that they just shine against. For whatever reason, they manage to elevate their play. It could be that the Blues are one of those teams for Girard.

Remember one of the most famous moments for our teen rookie was when he stopped a breakaway, broke up a pass, blocked a shot and cleared the puck… without his stick:

That is some tenacity on the puck, and it came against the Blues.

Interestingly, Erik Johnson‘s former team is St. Louis, and he’s historically played well against them — he even got his first Avs goal against the Blues. Once EJ is healthy, that would be a nice one-two punch against a division rival.

Next: Avs Score 4 1/2 Goals to Beat the Blues

Speaking of Central Division rivals, the Colorado Avalanche are getting ready to face Girard’s old team, the Nashville Predators in the playoffs. He only played five games there and was with the team for about a month, so it’s doubtful if he has any particular insight — that’s going to come from Colin Wilson, who spent eight seasons with the Predators.

However, if Girard or Wilson — or both — want to tap into some of that old flame mojo and score, that will be just fine with me.