Hey, more games against the Anaheim Ducks would equal more wins for the Avalanche, but, frankly, I’m glad we won’t have to see them anymore this season. My god, are they a boring team to watch. GM Bob Murray hasn’t kept up with the times. He’s got a big, slow, bad hockey club on his hands. Yet, no doubt it’ll be the coach that pays for it. That’s how it works in the NHL. The GM is almost never wrong.
The Avs went 6-1-1 against the Ducks this season, including Sunday’s 4-1 triumph at the Honda Center. The Avs maintain their four-point lead on Vegas for first in the Honda West Division. The Avs, with 60 points, have the most in the NHL.
First off, let’s all doff our chapeaus to Jonas Johansson. The Big Swede played another perfectly good game in getting win No. 3 for the Avs since coming over from Buffalo, where one media member called him the worst goalie he’d ever seen in covering the team. Now, look: I wasn’t comfortable just yet with JoJo being the playoff backup to Philip Grubauer, but good on him for controlling what he could control, to borrow a phrase, and getting some Ws. Yeah, the Ducks are god awful, but wins are wins. (And hey, I’m not trying to dump on a fellow media member. I’m just saying that that was a pretty rough thing to be called by a veteran reporter, and the kind of thing JoJo no doubt heard about and had to deal with).
Johansson made 24 saves in getting the win. Overall, in two games in Anaheim, he stopped 51-of-52 shots in back-to-back victories. If the Avs do end up winning a Stanley Cup for a third time, JoJo should get a full playoff money share, IMO. Those two wins were big, as Vegas has won a couple in a row now too.
I asked JoJo if he’s felt like a “new person” with this newfound NHL success, and he said “No, not really a new person, but…”
But, he said, it feels great to win. Indeed, and amen.
I also asked Andre Burakovsky about his fellow countryman, and he said: “I’m not surprised. I’ve always known he was a very good goalie. We played together on the Swedish national team.”
That leads me into the thoughts and observations portion of this post:
- Burky always seems to respond when challenged by Jared Bednar on something, and he did again tonight. He was dropped to the third line, with Valeri Nichushkin skating with Nazem Kadri and Brandon Saad. And I’ll tell you exactly why Bednar did this: because sometimes he gets irritated by Burky’s lack of compete along the walls when, say, he’s got the puck and loses it along the wall, not doing enough to get it back or at least make it tougher for the opposition to get the puck out. Big Val is very good at doing that, with his relentless puck-hounding and long reach. It’ll be an interesting question, to see what Bednar does with that second line entering the playoffs. I won’t be shocked if Bednar keeps Nichushkin as a top-six guy, because of his defensive abilities. I think Bednar really likes Burky as an offensive player, but not so much in the D zone.
- Bednar told me that Philipp Grubauer will start in goal for the Avs tomorrow against the Arizona Coyotes. I would bet the farm that Devan Dubnyk, who was the official backup for this game, will start Wednesday’s game.
- I thought Cale Makar was brilliant tonight, even though he was on the ice for the only goal against.
- I am a bit surprised Jared Bednar said he would start Grubi tomorrow, and not Dooooobi.
- I mean, why not let Doob start the game, in front of some home fans?
- That said, I would bet a ton of money Doob will start the Wednesday game in St. Louis.
- This a very good Avs team. But we’re all wondering if they should make one more move by Monday’s NHL trade deadline. I think we will definitely seen one more, and while I thought that move would be Nick Foligno from Columbus, I’ll thrown out one wildcard name for you: Ryan Getzlaf.
- I doubt we will see Getzly. But I won’t be shocked either. I still think the Avs still need one more kick-ass tough guy out there, and Getzy would be just the guy. I mean, he punched about five guys tonight.
- Good night.