After shutting out the St. Louis Blues 8-0, the Colorado Avalanche are more than happy to continue their chemistry as they begin their 2-game series against the LA Kings.
After the first game of the season, a 4-1 loss to the St. Louis Blues, I made the point that the Colorado Avalanche had subverted expectations, namely Cup clinching ones, with that loss.
In their rematch, they did it again. By a lot.
Friday night saw the Avs release all the pent-up anger of that failure on Wednesday, resulting in an 8-0 destruction of the Blues. You know what? That’s putting it mildly.
Both Gabriel Landeskog and Mikko Rantanen hit milestones, 200 and 100 goals respectively, Nathan MacKinnon and Cale Makar had multi-point outings, Devan Toews emerged with his first goal, and Philip Grubauer proved virtually everyone wrong by backstopping the Avs. Jordan Binnington would be chased from the net, for rookie Ville Husso to replace and also be barrelled with shots.
Samuel Girard and Connor Timmins both played the best hockey of their career, the line combinations switched around by Bednar found the weak points of the game before (Nazem Kadri, Brandon Saad) elevated to their proper levels, and the Avs made every power play a force to be reckoned with, amounting to 5 power play goals.
Heading into Los Angeles for tonight’s game, after a well deserved three days off, the Avs were joined by a familiar face and a long-awaited face.
Defensemen Bowen Byram and Erik Johnson were cleared to practice Sunday, seeing the latter cleared for COVID protocol. Byram finally takes the ice, after leading Canada to a Silver medal at the World Juniors, which he could follow with his rookie season if he dazzles Bednar the next six games.
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If the Avalanche want to continue their hot streak, the LA Kings are the team to do it on. Having lost both games in their series against the Kirill Kaprizov-led Minnesota Wild, the shaky Jonathan Quick has given up 8 goals this season with, other than key players like Jeff Carter and Anze Kopitar, struggled to put up multi-point games.
With the Avs coming off an intense way to announce they’re actually pretty good, honestly, there’s still a few things in mind heading into the game against the Kings:
- Will this be the game Bowen Byram makes his debut? If Bednar is happy with what he sees, a game against a struggling team like the Kings might be a good introduction to the NHL. It’s likely both Byram and Johnson are scratched for at least the next game, but Bednar could easily swap out one of Ryan Graves or Ian Cole to give either their chance.
- No word on Pavel Francouz, who isn’t currently on the Avalanche roster. Hunter Miska has been placed on emergency loan, where he will back up Grubauer tonight.
- Perhaps the best part of the season, other than the 8-0 win, is John-Michael Liles. What a life that man has. The way he pulls off wireless earbuds, the adoration he has for every kind of sauce. And the wine. It should be mandatory to watch every Avalanche game wearing a suit drinking wine.
- Nathan MacKinnon’s post-game drumroll.
The Colorado Avalanche face the Kings in LA tonight. The action starts at 8 PM MST. It marks the first of a four-game roadie.