The difference in play between Round Robin game one and two for the Colorado Avalanche was noticeable. The team have shaken off the rust of the break.
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This was the start of my writeup of the first game in the Round Robin series of these ‘Stanley Cup Play Ins’-
Too much individual play made the difference in who won and who lost the first game of the Round Robin for the Colorado Avalanche.
Too many penalties and no score seemed like the Avalanche of old.
Sure the pace was good for the first period, then the second was when the Blues to control again. Peter McNab commented that the Blues were keeping a close eye on MacKinnon, so he wasn’t getting the opportunity to do what he does best.
There was a lack of support in the play. Individuals trying to carry the puck down the ice. Individuals working at the front of the net.
Not enough of the play that won us games throughout the season.
You know the play I mean, there is always someone watching your back when you are on the ice. It was a team effort to bring the puck down the ice, with the strategy worked out as to how you were going to attempt to get that puck past the opposition goalie.
The third period had the Avalanche regroup more like what we’d seen from them in the regular season. And that in itself set up Ryan Graves for that fluke goal that was the equalizer.
Well, scrap all of that, the TEAM is back.
Last night in game two of this Round Robin there was 60 minutes of great hockey. Listening to Coach Bednar’s press conference after the game there was not one player that got called out as not contributing. When was the last time you heard that?
It’s been a while.
There was a totally different buzz with the team on the ice at Rogers Arena in this game. Everything was clicking.
Coach Bednar talked about his reasoning for switching Namestinikov and Burakovsky. He said that he’s wanting more from Burakovsky and that Namestinikov has proven himself. This is the guy who gets picked up during the season, on a whim, to add yet another depth player to a lineup that was already stacked with scoring talent.
I have personally loved his play since he hit the ice with the Avalanche. And he’s certainly proved that he deserves that spot on the top line.
Whilst in the first game I felt that Mikko Rantanen was so-so, last night his contribution level shifted up a notch. He was more involved in the play and making plays. Maybe his confidence was down since he returned from injury, or maybe he didn’t have his hockey mindset back, I don’t know what it was, but either way, his play is moving in a better direction. The Mikko of old is lurking not far away.
And Francouz, wow! You can’t talk about the great win last night without talking about his goaltending effort. Interestingly in his press conference, he talked about the team being there in front of the goal, supporting him.
It’s an interesting difference between the two games that the team hadn’t been working the front of goal as much for Grubauer. A couple of them were, but not the team, as was the case with Francouz.
What does that say about the team’s confidence in their goalie? More on that in another post.
I loved the fourth line with Matt Nieto back on it. They did more last night than they had in the previous game with Tyson Jost filling the spot.
Editor’s note: Agree to disagree.
Even the third line with JT Compher worked the ice a lot better last night.
So, if last nights 60 minute, high pressure, making it count game counts for anything, I’d say the Colorado Avalanche have shaken off the rust of the past four months and now have themselves back in the Play-Off hockey mindset. Anything is possible from here.
Let’s see if they can keep up this play against the Vegas Golden Knights on Saturday.