Two Colorado Avalanche defensemen, Sam Giard and Erik Johnson, scored different by equally sexy goals to get the team on the scoreboard first.
The Colorado Avalanche have the hottest line in the NHL with Mikko Rantanen, Nathan MacKinnon and Gabriel Landeskog. However, secondary scoring is what separates a team from being a one-hit wonder to being a force — what forward Tyson Jost would call one of the “big dogs in the league.”
Part of secondary scoring comes from the defense.
When you think of the Avalanche and defensemen scoring, your mind probably turns to our modern-day rover, Tyson Barrie. Well, our T-Brat has missed the last two games with an unspecified injury.
Colorado, though, has spent some time now stacking their blueline with puck-movers. Actually, the foundation of their defensive corps is also the longest-tenured member of the team, Erik Johnson.
He scored a goal last night. So did the youngest member of the team, Samuel Girard. In fact, the 20-year-old whirling Dervish is the one who got the scoring started for the Avalanche.
The goal comes midway through the first period. In fact, it all starts with some exceptionally hard work from Mikko Rantanen. He fends off not one but two defending Penguins before stick-handling a diving Sidney Crosby — to be honest, I didn’t know Crosby dropped to block shots like that.
Rantanen continues to hold possession of the puck before passing it to Girard, who’s pinching into the slot. Our littlest defender unleashes a smooth wrist shot that beats goalie Tristan Jarry:
Our usually unemotional defenseman does indulge in a couple of fist bumps to celebrate the first goal of the game.
We haven’t seen a ton of offense yet from the seeming heir apparent to Tyson Barrie. I don’t know that Girard really is meant to be an offensive defenseman so much as a wildly talented puck-moving defenseman. But it sure is nice to see Sammy G has a little scoring touch to him.
Interestingly, despite the firepower on both sides, the second goal of the game was scored by a defenseman, this time the, well, “agiest” one, Erik Johnson.
The goal comes about five minutes into the second period. Forward Sven Andrighetto muscles his way into the offensive zone through three defending Penguins. He doesn’t have any kind of shot, so he circles around and finds Johnson, sending the puck sailing Erik’s way.
I’ve mentioned many times before that Johnson has a bomb of a shot from the point. That’s really an Erik Johnson special, right up their with the coast-to-coast play.
Last night was no exception. Johnson receives Andrighetto’s pass and just lets rip a one-timer:
Wow. What power and vision in that shot. The complete opposite of Girard’s skill shot, but just as beautiful to watch.
The goal also put the Colorado Avalanche up 2-0.
Colorado went on to win the game 6-3 in a wild 21 minutes of hockey that saw six goals scored. However, without those two defensemen goals — both so different but equally beautiful — maybe we don’t have the same stage for an Avs victory.