The Colorado Avalanche won their game against the Dallas Stars in a rather lackadaisical fashion — a but a win’s a win.
The Colorado Avalanche did not play bad hockey. In fact, at times they played good, even great hockey. At other times, they played pretty loosey goosey.
This is a team that missed not one but two wide-open net chances in the first period. First Patrik Nemeth:
And then Sheldon Dries:
Also, at one point, little Sammy G, Samuel Girard, had to play goalie:
Boy that kid is the gift that keeps on giving, n’est-ce pas?
Anyway, they also went through stretches of time after scoring the first goal of the game where they played well back on their heels. However, in the end, the score was good, so we’ll just take the dirty win.
Both teams played last night in another city and were, therefore, in the second night of a back-to-back series. That said, since the Colorado Avalanche were traveling home, to altitude, they should have had a slight advantage.
Yet they were the team who looked gassed for shifts at a time. That’s particularly frustrating not just because of altitude, but because of the emphasis on conditioning. Again, they should have had an advantage here.
Two former Humboldt Broncos players, Ryan Straschnitzki and Jacob Wassermann, were in attendance at the game. Actually, they were part of the pregame ritual in that they dropped the puck on a ceremonial faceoff:
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I must admit, I got pretty teary-eyed watching this. Both players were paralyzed in the bus crash that also killed 10 of their teammates plus six others in their bus. Watching them get pushed into position by Ice Girls was difficult because I just kept thinking how they must have just flown around on their own skates in a previous life.
That said, a… light-hearted debate came up on Twitter. At the conclusion of the ceremonial puck drop, Stars captain Jamie Benn kicked the puck he’d dropped over to our captain, Gabriel Landeskog, to pick up and hand to Ryan Straschnitzki.
Some of us thought that was disrespectful of Benn. Why didn’t he pick up the puck himself? It was brought up that tradition states the home captain picks up the ceremonial puck and hands it to the puck dropper, but we couldn’t decide what the convention was when there’s two.
Here’s the ceremony in its entirety:
Anyway, each Bronco player got his ceremonial puck, and that’s all that really matters.
I remarked in my pregame post that I thought the Colorado Avalanche-Dallas Stars game would be a high-scoring game. For three-quarters (roughly) of the game, I thought I’d have to eat crow as the score remained 1-0 on a Nathan MacKinnon goal.
Then, at the midway point of the third period, Stars skater Radek Faksa scored to tie the game. A few minutes later Benn scored to make the game 2-1.
I thought that was it, the Avs were going to be downed after leading for so much of the game. However, the man himself, Jimothy Timothy (J.T. Compher) scored with just under three minutes left:
And the other man himself, Mikko Rantanen (🎵I said a Mikko Rantanen🎵) scored just 46 seconds later:
That last goal was the game-winner. It was his 10th of the season. He now has 38 points. He’s still the NHL’s scoring leader. He’s so getting paid next summer.
The Z Smash to End All Z Smashes
Defenseman Nikita Zadorov likes to hit. Last season, he led the entire NHL in the number of hits (278) he delivered. Dubious stat, but there you have it. This season, he has 48 hits, which isn’t quite the same pace.
But during tonight’s game, he delivered this wowser of a hit:
Oh, yeah, Radek Faksa’s helmet ended up in the next county. (It wasn’t a head hit, though — Faksa really should buckle his helmet more tightly.)
This play had no real impact on the game — it was just super cool.
Tonight also heralded the return of former Av, Blake Comeau. To be honest, I forgot all about him and didn’t notice him until the waning seconds of the third. And the only reason I noticed him is because he was skating away when I looked in his direction, and I thought, “Oh, yeah, Comeau is on the Stars now.”
Believe it or not, the Colorado Avalanche are facing another back-to-back series after two days off. They’ll visit Nashville on Tuesday and host Pittsburgh on Wednesday. They’ll host the Stars again on another Saturday, December 15.