For the first time this season, the Colorado Avalanche have a record that is better than .500. Things have been bumpy so far, but as of late the Avs appear to be turning it around. Jarome Iginla got things going in the first period tonight with a nice wrist shot that slid past former Avalanche goaltender Craig Anderson. The Avs continued to push and play well throughout the period, and Brad Stuart chipped in with his first goal as an Avalanche to bring the score up to 2-0.
Ottawa didn’t let Varlamov nurse the dream of a second consecutive shutout for long however, scoring a goal just three minutes into the second period. The Senators deserved that goals, as the Avs were playing very sloppily. Erik Johnson seemed outraged by the loss of the two goal lead, and he fired the puck past Anderson for his 11th of the year (a new career high, and we have 41 games left!) That would be the end of the scoring in the second period, but the Avs really controlled a lot of the play for the rest of the period and earned the majority of the real scoring chances. Once the third period started, we were treated to three quick goals in less than three minutes. Jarome Iginla scored 23 seconds in (breaking his own season record for quickest goal to start a period by six seconds). Then Bobby Ryan “came in hot” and picked off an Erik Johnson pass to score a goal. And then Danny Briere received a stretch pass from Tyson Barrie and wired a shot past Ottawa’s back-up goaltender Robin Lehtner.
From there on out, the scoring was shut down. Semyon Varlamov made 36 saves on 38 shots, which gives him 90 saves between two games. The Avs moved past Minnesota by a point, and have a chance to overtake Dallas with a regulation win on Saturday (against the Dallas Stars). Things appear to be looking up for the Avs, who once again are finding ways to win. Yes, they still allow a lot of shots against…but at the end of the day they’re finding ways to win, and that’s all that really matters.
-Alex Tanguay earned his 800th career point tonight. More than half of those points have been with the Avalanche.
-Matt Duchene may not have had any points tonight, but he won 80% of the faceoffs he took.
-Tanguay and Iginla are tied for the team lead in points (27) and goals (12).
-The Avs allowed a lot of shots, but they also blocked 25 shots.
-Yet again, the Avalanche found themselves on the winning side of the hit battle. While the Avs aren’t really known as a “hitting” team, there are a number of games where they end up outhitting their opponents.
-Ryan O’Reilly has really been playing a lot better as of late, and he had a particularly good night tonight. He helped to set up two of the goals (and earned 2 assists) and he also had one of his strongest performances of the season defensively. O’Reilly has always been known as a defensively responsible forward, but for the majority of this season he has been absolutely brutal in his own zone. It was nice to see him return to form.