The Colorado Avalanche got a much-needed victory when they beat the Oilers 4-1 in Edmonton.
The Colorado Avalanche halted their losing streak at five games, and, boy, are we glad. They prevailed with a 4-0 victory over the Edmonton Oilers.
Colorado got goals from four different players tonight, and they were all beauties. Even the ugly goal was kind of pretty.
Mikko Rantanen, who’s back to leading the NHL in scoring with 26 points (5 goals, 19 assists). scored just 26 seconds into the first period:
Then, the man we call Carl (because that’s his name), made it 2-0 later in the first period:
I like how Carl just turns around, all casual like. By the way, Tyson Barrie got the assist on the goal — his 200th NHL assist, all with the Avs.
Speaking of, Tyson Barrie cannot live by assists alone. Up to that point, he had 13 points, all assists. Well, he scored late in the second period to make the score 4-0:
With his points totals, he’s now creeping up into Sandis Ozolinsh territory for Avs greats. As an Avalanche, Ozo had 72 goals. Barrie now has 61 goals.
Don’t worry, I didn’t forget the third goal. That was a power play tally, and it was the lone “ugly” goal:
It also should have been Tyson Jost‘s goal. He was the one in front of the net whacking at the loose puck the whole time, but somehow it was Kerfoot who banked it off of goalie Cam Talbot. We’ll take it.
Especially since that’s the goal that chased Talbot from the game.
Let’s look at the keys to the game.
Get the Top Line Rolling
The top line were responsible for two of the four goals tonight. Rantanen had a goal and an assist, MacKinnon had two assists, and Landeskog had an assist. The MGM line doesn’t have to do it all by themselves, but they’ve got to be a force most nights.
Shut Down McJesus
The Colorado Avalanche did a good job of shutting down Connor McDavid. The Oilers’ best player — arguably, the best player in the NHL — played a team-high (for forwards) 20:28, including 3:48 of power play time, but the Avs kept him to two shots on goal. He was a -1 on the night.
And Nikita Zadorov robbed him of a breakaway chance.
Play Tidy Hockey
The Colorado Avalanche got sloppy in the third period, letting a desperate Edmonton team off the ropes. That led to the Oilers’ lone goal, by Ty Rattie.
However, Colorado tightened their game back up somewhat. Though the ice still tended to slant toward the Avs’ zone, they managed to shut Edmonton out of any further scoring.
Semyon Varlamov looked good in net. That lone Edmonton goal was a usual affair for Colorado — the opponents were buzzing in their zone for two long and finally one went in. Prior to that game, Varlamov had five straight losses, yet coach Jared Bednar still didn’t start Philipp Grubauer. You’ve got to wonder if the big German has some atoning to do for the Vancouver game.
Tyson Jost was back on a line with Alexander Kerfoot and Colin Wilson. That is good. Surround your up-and-coming stars with adequate talent and let them grow into their roles. The Avs aren’t the San Jose Sharks, fighting for one of their last chances at the Cup with the current (aging) core — they’re a young team trying to build that foundation.
Even I keep underestimating Mikko Rantanen. How is he leading the NHL in scoring? It’s not all MacKinnon, who’s been faltering of late. Where did this big Finnish rein deer come from? And thank goodness he’s an Av.
The Colorado Avalanche head home tonight. They don’t play again until Wednesday when they face the NHL’s second-hottest top line, the one on the Boston Bruins.