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The Avalanche played nearly a perfect defensive game against Ottawa

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Now that was a complete, 60-minute defensive effort.

Wow, the Avs were very good tonight defensively in their shutout win over the Ottawa Senators. It’s tough to limit another NHL team to almost no good scoring chances in a game, but I thought the Avs nearly pulled it off tonight. With the Blues’ postponed game tonight in Anaheim, the Avs are now just one point behind the Blues, with one game still officially in hand.

Ottawa did put a lot of shots on the Avs, but I just didn’t think many were of high quality. And when there were some chances for the Senators, Philipp Grubauer made all the saves.

Grubauer’s shutout was his second of the season and 11th of his career. The Avs have now allowed only five goals in the last five games.

TAKEAWAYS

  • Valeri Nichushkin continues to be one of the biggest surprise stories in the NHL. His goal in the third period was a great one, and he drew the penalty that led to the power play goal itself. He has just been very, very good since Thanksgiving. He has 11 goals and 24 points since Thanksgiving.
  • Grubauer is 25-11-6 now as an Av at the Pepsi Center.
  • How was their no penalty on this:

  • Another +2 for Ryan Graves. He’s now a +41!!! He’s tops in the league by far. Amazing story.
  • Not the sexiest game in the world, but these are the points you need to just bank and not worry about their style.
  • So, J.T. Compher was the second-line center and while he didn’t get on the score sheet, I thought he played pretty well in his 15 minutes. He had three shots on net and won 5-of-8 faceoffs.
  • The game against Washington Thursday has been moved from 7 to 7:30, because of TV wanting to show Alex Ovechkin’s quest for 700 goals. He has 698.
  • I thought Erik Johnson was very good tonight and has picked up his overall game of late. He played 20:17 and had four shots on net.
  • Avs will practice at noon tomorrow. Probably an optional.

NOTES AND QUOTES FROM AVS PR

TEAM NOTES
The Avalanche wrapped up its two-game season series against the Senators finishing 2-0-0 against Ottawa and outscoring the Senators by a combined score of 7-1 in the two contests. It’s Colorado’s first sweep of a season series against Ottawa since the 2013-14 campaign (also 2-0-0). The Avs are 8-1-0 in their last nine games and 8-1-2 in their last 11. Colorado extended its home point streak to a season-long seven games (5-0-2), earning its fourth straight win on home ice. The Avalanche is 16-5-3 against the Eastern Conference this season.
Colorado is 25-5-5 when scoring the first goal of the game.
INDIVIDUAL NOTES
Philipp Grubauer earned his second shutout of the season and the 11th of his career. He now has 18 wins in 2019-20, matching his career-high set last season. Grubauer has allowed one goal or fewer in each of his last four games, posting a 4-0-0 record with a .75 goals-against average and .974 save percentage in that span. Samuel Girard notched an assist for this 28th point of the season, setting a new career-high and eclipsing his previous best of 27 points during the 2018- 19 campaign.
Mikko Rantanen scored his fifth game-winning goal of the season, tied with Andre Burakovsky for the team lead. His five game-winners are also a career-high, eclipsing his previous best of four in 2018-19. Andre Burakovsky picked up his 24th assist of the season to set a new career-high in helpers. He surpasses his previous mark of 23 during the 2016-17 season with Washington.
Jared Bednar earned his 136th victory as head coach of the Avalanche, surpassing Marc Crawford for second-most by an Avalanche head coach since the franchise moved to Denver. Only Bob Hartley (193) has more wins in that time frame.

Colorado RW Mikko Rantanen
On The Team’s Confidence: “I think it’s big. Especially, I’m really loving our defensive play. You know, we don’t give up too much. Tonight we were a little bit sloppy at some points, but still, we find a way to get a shutout. Goalies are playing well too, so it’s really good.”
On His Goal: “I think it was a good breakout first of all. We went up right away to Nate (Colorado C Nathan MacKinnon) and he got a good touch on me and I tried to just spin off the D-man and he bit there. It gave me some room and this time it went in, so we’ll take it. It was a big goal.”
Colorado G Philipp Grubauer
On The Break: “I think it can be good and it can be bad, but I think it was really good for us. We were a little bit banged up, a couple of injuries. It wasn’t that great leading up to the break, so it’s nice to get a couple of days away from hockey and get your mind free and get ready for the last push. I think we have 30 games or whatever in 60 days, so that was important.”
On The Avs Playing In A Groove: “I think as a team we are for sure. They are making things easy. If you play the way we’ve played, that makes things really easy for me back there, so that’s what we need to do.”
Colorado D Ian Cole
On The First Period: “They had a lot of shots in the first. We were probably a little too lax, gaps weren’t great, defensive side of things weren’t necessarily dialed in. Mikko (Colorado RW Mikko Rantanen) makes an incredible skill play there. World-class player just doing some world-class things, so very glad he did it. Certainly gave us a little bit of breathing room, a little confidence going into the second and then I think we slowly kind of started
to take over the game.”
On The Avs’ Defensive Play: “Well I think it’s kind of come to the realization that to win down the stretch and certainly in the playoffs is you have to be a good defenseman. Teams aren’t just going to let you skate through the neutral zone with the puck unchallenged and if we’re not responsible with it, we’re not reloading in the forecheck, we’re going to get run out of the building come those meaningful games. So I think with how diligent we’ve been defensively and certainly with those reloads and all over the ice quite frankly, it has been great and I think it was a good realization to make. I think early in the season, we didn’t necessarily realize that and now I think were playing a much better brand of hockey for sure.”

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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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Jason
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Jason

Can Val be in the running for the Masterton, or is that only reserved for players coming back from injury?

Joel Stefaniak
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Joel Stefaniak

Still too Barbie-esque on the Power Play.. No net front presence to pound in a rebound, no one PP from behind the net..

Matt Briggle
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Matt Briggle

Just a thought on the power play struggles here. This is a team that thrives on the rush when playing 5v5 and creating out of chaos that trying to play within a more organized structure of a power play set up that they basically just out think themselves at times. The times it has been really successful on the power play it’s seem to come off some sort of a scramble and they’re moving and taking advantage of the chaos. It almost seems to me like they’re collectively too creative to be really effective in a structured system that is… Read more »

Charlie Anderson
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Charlie Anderson

That no-call on the hit to the head is crazy. Supplemental discipline maybe? The refs have been working hard to not give the Avs PPs lately, IMO.

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