Four games, five points, at least a point in each game. No defenseman in the history of the franchise of the Avalanche – which of course includes their proud heritage from Quebec – had ever accomplished that, until tonight. Cale Makar, the kid with the cherubic apple cheeks and sick hockey skill, already holds a franchise record after his first four games as a pro. Think about that for a minute.
Makar had two assists in the Avs’ 3-2 overtime win over Arizona. Counting the 10 playoff games he played for the Avs this past spring, Makar’s all-time NHL stat line looks like this: 14 GP, 1 G, 10 A, 11 pts.
Repeat after me: Blessing in disguise, that the Avs lost that ping-pong-ball draft lottery in 2017, winding up with the worst possible pick they could have had: fourth overall. Makar fell into their lap at No. 4. If the draft were held all over again? Yeah, Makar might be at the top of that list.
Makar actually drew his biggest cheer of the night for a big hit he laid on Arizona’s Barrett Hayton, in the third period. Here, see for yourself:
This kid is the real deal, folks. The real deal. He’s only 20, too. Can’t even legally buy a drink. Good god, repeat after me again: Blessing in disguise.
Quick, cue the official Cale Makar theme song:
MORE AVS NOTES AND OBSERVATIONS
- Pavel Francouz? Really, really good. Hats off to the 29-year-old “kid” in winning his first career NHL start. The Coyotes put some serious heat on him tonight, too. That kick-save with 14 seconds left was a great one. Phil Kessel had a step on his man and I think would definitely have put that puck home to win it in regulation, but Frankie went Hollywood.
- Nazem Kadri? How’s this for a stat line: a goal, and 15-for-22 on faceoffs. Kadri is 45-for-70 on faceoffs on the season (64.3 percent). That’ll work.
- Avs are 5-18 on the power play so far (27.8 percent). That’ll work too.
- Only thing I didn’t love about tonight was how many times the Avs’ D turned the puck over at times in their own end. Arizona really had some good forechecking pressure, though. Still, there were a few too many up-the-wall-and-pray kind of clearout attempts. Francouz bailed out his D plenty tonight. There was one shift late in the second period, with the Avs’ third line and the pairing of Mark Barberio and Ryan Graves, that was really hemmed in for a long time. Avs still need to clean up their play in transition coming out of their end, and that includes the forwards too.
QUOTES FROM AVS PR:
Colorado RW Andre Burakovsky
On Tonight’s Game: “We found a way to win the game. I think we played a pretty good game, still we are giving up a lot of chances and when we went up 2-0 we should close the game there. It’s always good to find a way to win the game and be 4-0.”
On Colorado G Pavel Francouz: “I thought he was excellent. He [made] some really big saves. That’s what we needed from him [tonight], we know Arizona is a good team, they’re tough to play against, they’re playing hard and Frankie, I’m real happy for him to play his first game and play such a good game too.”
Colorado G Pavel Francouz
On His Nerves Before The Game: “I was thinking about it since the morning, you have it somewhere in the back of your head. I was expecting to be more nervous actually. Once the puck dropped I was trying to be as focused as possible and trying to flow with the game.”
On The First Period: “When we didn’t get scored on the PK. It helped, you get some action, you get some saves and you feel better with every moment like that. If they would have scored it would be a different story.”
Arizona C Nick Schmaltz
On Tonight’s Game: “It was tight all night. There were chances both ways. They’re a great team offensively. I think we did a pretty good job getting in behind them and playing in their zone for the most part, but they’ve got a lot of skill on the power play. They’re going to make plays. Got down two but we stuck with it. I thought that Rants (Arizona G Antti Raanta) kept us in it and a couple shots found their way in.”
On His Productivity: “I feel better. I feel like I am generating more, and I feel like I am getting more chances off the rush. My legs feel good and I’m skating, making sure I’m shooting as much as I can. If there is a pass to be made, I’ll make it but I stay with it and keep building.”
Arizona LW Michael Grabner
On Tonight’s Game: “I think we played pretty well. Obviously, they got the power-play goal there and [we got] a quick one after. The arena was loud, so it was nice to get a quick goal there and settle things down and keep playing.”
On His First Goal Of The Season: “It feels nice. Obviously, it would have felt a little bit better if we had come back and finished the two points, but it was still a good effort for the guys. I think that Rants (Arizona G Antti Raanta) played great back there and made some big saves for us.”