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Postgame Avalanche-Flyers: First Place Again

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TAKEAWAYS FROM AVALANCHE VICTORY OVER PHILADELPHIA

  • It’s official: the Avs are a first-place team again. The win over the Flyers vaulted them to the top of the Central Division, one point ahead of St. Louis.
  • The Avs have at least a point in the last eight games (7-0-1).
  • Things just come a lot easier when you’ve got all the big dogs in your lineup, at least offensively. The Avs weren’t especially great offensively in this one, but a mega-talent like Mikko Rantanen can make that not matter. He just lurks about all the time with that lethal shot of his, and he scored two of the team’s first three goals in the game.
  • Rantanen looks quicker on his feet again. The first few games into his return, his foot speed seemed a bit slower still.
  • Rantanen’s first goal came when he one-timed Gabe Landeskog’s saucer pass past Carter Hart, late in the second period. That goal seemed to really deflate the Flyers, who had been carrying play mostly to that point in the period.
  • Pavel Francouz? Outstanding in goal for the Avs. The Flyers got some really good looks with the puck, but Francouz made some top-notch saves. Francouz is now 8-2-1 on the season.
  • Frankie really had some quick pads in this one too. Very fast reflexes on many shots.
  • Francouz lost the shutout with 5:12 left, when Claude Giroux scored after the Avs lost sight of the puck a bit and left the front of the net vacated.
  • Nazem Kadri returned, and centered a line between Rantanen and Landeskog. Kadri had practiced the day before with Andre Burakovsky and Joonas Donskoi.
  • I’ll say this about Kadri: He’s got a very heavy shot. How that is defined is tricky, but the puck just looks, well, heavier than many others.
  • Philipp Grubauer did skate Wednesday morning, but afterward he was deemed not healthy enough to suit up, so Adam Werner got the Uber ride from Loveland to be the backup.
  • It was not a pleasant morning at Eagles offices. In the morning, the Wall Street Journal reported of former player Akim Aliu, who is from Nigeria, sharing the story of a 2011 team party in which longtime equipment manager Tony Deynzer posed for a picture in blackface in with him. Aliu said the incident scarred him and contributed to a career downfall. Because Deynzer is considered an employee of the Avalanche, the team announced it had placed Deynzer on administrative leave pending further investigation. The Avalanche was not affiliated with the Eagles in 2011. The Eagles, who claimed no prior knowledge of the photo or the incident itself, issued a public apology to Aliu.
  • On the official scorer’s sheet, Valeri Nichushkin and Pierre-Edouard Bellemare were awarded the assists on Matt Calvert’s goal, but the first assist clearly should have gone to Calle Rosen, whose shot from the point hit the post and was backhanded home by Calvert.
  • I really liked the game Andre Burakovsky played, even though he didn’t get anything on the score sheet. He was heavy on the puck in the corners and really backchecked well.
  • Cale Makar skated in the morning, but with the non-contact jersey again and he didn’t shoot and pucks. Jared Bednar said he is doubtful for Friday’s game with New Jersey.
  • Donskoi was shaken up just prior to Giroux’s goal, appearing to take a pop to the face. He played on, however.
  • The line of Calvert , Nichushkin and Bellemare were outstanding, really possessing the puck a lot and getting chances.
  • The Avs did a “what’s the dumbest question you’ve ever been asked?” segment between whistles. A former Av came up to me after the game and said “Every question by Dater.” I’ll get revenge.
  • Francouz called the second period, which the Flyers outshot the Avs 17-5 “fun.” “That’s what I’m here for,” he said.
  • Rantanen, named the game’s No. 2 star, redirected the praise to Francouz. “He’s only in his first year, but he doesn’t play like it.”
  • Rantanen said the Avs “battled through” the second period, with Francouz doing the heavy lifting.
  • Jared Bednar said he “loved our start. We were the team winning the races. Second period, it was the exact opposite.”
  • On being back in first place, Bednar said, “That’s where we want to be at the end of the year.”
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Adrian Dater - Kiss and Larry Bird fan. Writer with @Gambling and @Bookies. Previously Denver Post, SI, Bleacher Report to name just a few.

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Derek DeSantis

Your note about Rantanen’s first goal is wrong, Hart saved that one-timer.

idavsfan

Correct – Rantanen’s 1st was the tap in from MacKinnon, his second was the onetimer from Kadir

Matt Briggle

Heavy shot – a shot that can’t simply be deflected by getting a piece of equipment on it. Quick story, back in the early-mid 90’s, I was a student equipment manager at St. Cloud State. Dave Paradise played there at the time and he had the heaviest shot I’ve ever seen. There would be several goals a year that he would just bomb it from the top of the circles, you would hear it hit the goalie’s pads square, the light would go on, and the goalie would be there trying to readjust his pads because they got turned sideways… Read more »

radiorethink

Hey AD… first chance to catch these guys live at the can. Just want to thank you again for doing the CHN thing. It was so great to watch the game and have the insider perspective. High fives hombre!

Adrian Dater

Thanks man. I try to get these “takeaways” columns done fast after – and during – games, with the games still fresh in the minds of people who watched it

razor73

„Aliu said the incident scarred him and contributed to a career downfall.“

That is ridiculous! This guy destroys the careers of other people, only because he didn’t make it in the NHL. Disgusting.

The_Last_Ray_Gun

This is a bad take

hoz

agree, horrible take

avsftw

Avs also now have the highest goal differential in the league too!

Ricardo

The game seemed much closer than the final score. The Flyers were taking it to the AVs much of the game. What are your thoughts on MaK and some of the others. I thought that despite a few mistakes Girard and Z did a good job.

troian

Seemed like Z and Girard were more involved in the offense, particularly after the Avs survived the Flyers dominating much of the 2nd period…and Barberio provided a lot of offensive grit to alleviate some of the pressure on the defense…

SteveJ

Hey Adrien, love the columns! Why wasn’t coach Bednar talked to (or any Avs) by the NBCSN crew? It’s in our house and they’re interviewing the Philly coach.

GWood

Philly is a tough team, their back checking was impressive, the Avs are just flat out better than everyone else. I can’t figure out where Girard’s head is at, stupid mistakes and regressing on the PP, big time. C’mon kid, drink a Red Bull or something.

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