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Avs Game Analysis

Valeri Nichushkin helps rescue Avs in his best game of season, but MacKinnon worry starts

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Finally – finally – Jared Bednar looked like a coaching genius in an overtime game for the Avs. The heavy use of one Valeri Nichushkin in OT was the winning move in Colorado’s 3-2 victory over the Anaheim Ducks at a still-fanless Ball Arena.

Nichushkin scored on a gorgeous wheel move around the Ducks defense, slipping a puck past tough Ducks goalie John Gibson with 2:15 left to give the Avs their first come-from-behind win of the season when trailing either after the first or the second period.

Nichushkin started the OT and, while there were a couple of anxious moments, he really had a great last shift in scoring the goal. What did Nichushkin think of it?

Well, he still doesn’t do media, so we don’t know. But he sure looked happy anyway.

The Avs had a bad start and were trailing 2-0 in the second period. Gibson looked great, and this just seemed like one of those nights. And then, the Avs just outworked the Ducks the rest of the way. That really was the difference. Gradually, the Avs just chipped away, getting a goal from…Nichushkin…to cut the lead in half. Previously, Nichushkin hit both posts with a shot. He, like the Avs, didn’t hang their heads. They just kept coming.

Brandon Saad tied it not long after Nichushkin’s first goal, putting home a rebound in front. The Avs had 34 shots in the game, despite getting a pregame shock of Nathan MacKinnon being a scratch with an upper-body injury.

The Masters

Nichushkin ended it, with assists to Saad and Devon Toews.

“That was a beautiful goal,” Saad said of No. 13’s game-winner. “This was huge. I thought we had a pretty good road trip, but we had to come out at home too to get started.”

NOTEBOOK

As for MacKinnon, Bednar said this: “I didn’t see him tonight, but he just basically – the afternoon, he wasn’t feeling good. So, the protocol says he can’t play. We’re not going to risk him getting hurt worse. But I would expect he’ll miss a game or two here.” … MacKinnon skated this morning and the team said he’d play. But, obviously, things changed.  Bednar said the protocol has to do with the hit from the other night, and not Covid-19. … I thought Conor Timmins had a very good game, for me his best of the season. He was good in his own end and also pretty dangerous at times offensively. “I thought he skated well tonight,” Bednar said … Bednar wasn’t happy at all with his team’s first 30 minutes or so. He said “we looked tired” and “Turned the puck over too much.” But he said the work ethic was much better in the second half. … Saad finished with a goal and two assists. … You know what? For a guy I pretty much had never heard of before recently, I think Dan Renouf has done a nice job with the Avs on defense. He played nearly 13 minutes and got his first career point. …

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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

I loved Renouf mixing it up with Getzlaf. I believe I am forever done with Jost. Average AHL player at best. I have seen some rumors of Avs adding a Getzlaf for the 3C spot. Don’t hate it but don’t love it, guy would add some more grit but man would he slow this teams overall pace down.

John Mauss

I agree with your main point about a gritty center like Getzlof, but I think Jost is making some contributions on PK and defense. If we had a better alternative, I would take it but Avs are really thin and also cap space limited. If we are going to somehow jettison a weak link, I think Compher would go first.

Jared Moss

Yes BIG VAL! That’s the val we signed for 2 mil, now if we could only see that every game

John Mauss

Kind of what Bednar said when asked “Wasn’t Val great?”

Rich

Dater – what are your thoughts on Kadri? He missed at least 4 prime scoring chances not including his baseball swing into the next. I thought he was going to bring more sandpaper? I just haven’t seen it. JT had a couple of decent games during the past road trip but tonight like most of the season he has been nonexistent. Is it getting time for the Avs in order to stay with St. Louis, Vegas, Minny to make some changes?

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