The Colorado Avalanche won a decisive victory over the Minnesota Wild last night. It was a very well-played game by the Avs.
The Colorado Avalanche… might be a good team. Coach Jared Bednar’s systems… might be working.
I hesitate to get too glowing in my praise because in the Avalanche’s 4-1 victory over Minnesota, the Wild were not a good team. They looked slow and a little old, and they weren’t running good systems. According to the score sheet, they played a physical game against Colorado, but it definitely never felt that way.
So, I hesitate to state unequivocally that the Avalanche have turned over a new leaf. However, it appears that they have made steps in the right direction.
Let’s address some of the storylines from yesterday and add some observations.
Opening Night History with the Wild
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As noted, the Colorado Avalanche have not had tremendous success against the Wild in recent years on opening night. So, I was looking on tonight with trepidation.
At first, it looked like my trepidation was going to be well-founded. Despite the Avalanche out-shooting the Wild pretty much 2-1 the whole night, Minny went up first with a goal by Zach Parise — could he not score every single time he comes to Colorado?!
That said, though there was a lot of back and forth play — and some sustained pressure a few times in the Avs zone — Colorado controlled the majority of the play.
Give that giant galloot credit, Devan Dubnyk kept Minnesota in the game. He only allowed two goals in 38 shots — the other two were empty-netters. Colorado scored four unanswered goals.
Are we still riding those? Yes. Is Nathan MacKinnon in last season’s form? Also yes. He was making chop suey all over the ice tonight.
Actually, so did Colin Wilson, and it’s annoying that the goal didn’t count.
It was said the goal didn’t count because it went in off his glove. His hand was wrapped around his stick, so it shouldn’t matter, but moving on.
The point is that there were players not on the MacKinnon line who were making things happen, and that’s a good thing.
Second-Line Center Position
Well, for the most part Tyson Jost played the second-line center position. I thought he looked good on the ice. He was moving around with a lot of alacrity. His linemates were Alexander Kerfoot and Colin Wilson.
I wouldn’t be too surprised to see Kerfoot or even Compher get tapped as second-line center next. As noted, this may be a revolving position. And while I thought Jost looked good, it may be that his older sophomore teammates looked just a little better.
Tyson Barrie got called for a tripping penalty on this play:
I’m sure in real time, this looked like Barrie tripped Nick Foligno, who then had to be helped off the ice. However, as you can see, the best you can say is Foligno jumped to avoid the stick and went awkwardly into the boards. More accurately, he tried to dive and ended up injuring himself.
Momentarily anyway. He returned to the ice, and Barrie even apologized to him:
The Minnesota Wild not playing well and even ineffectually:
Landy to Eric Stall: Ha ha!
Some other observations I made from the game is that I like the Matt Calvert signing. Already in Game 1 he was sticking up for his new teammates.
I like Erik Johnson with Sam Girard. Little Sammy is like a swallow circling the powerful condor. But they move beautifully in tandem.
Tyson Barrie is playing good defense. No one is more shocked than I am, but there were a couple plays that he made that saved potential goals. He still let the puck fly past him on the power play, per usual.
At one point, Nathan MacKinnon literally leapt over a Wild player. It was at the other end of the ice. However, he got good air.
The Colorado Avalanche next face the Eastern Conference when they host the Philadelphia Flyers. We’ll see how these storylines continue to play out.