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Game Review

Observations from Avalanche 4-1 win over Wild

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David Zalubowski/AP

Back to .500! For the Avalanche, this used to be not much to brag about, but after starting the season 1-3-0, for the Avs to be 4-4-0 now is a nice statement of how things have changed over the past week.

The Avs beat the Wild 4-1 tonight, with Gabe Landeskog getting two goals, Nathan MacKinnon nearly getting a Gordie Howe Hat Trick and Darcy Kuemper playing his first dominant game since being acquired from Arizona.

Landeskog’s empty-netter sealed this one, as the Avs never trailed in what was a solid all-around performance.

“We knew it was going to be a tough game, they check hard and they don’t give up a whole lot, so we had to work for everything we got. I think we did a good job of that, played well defensively for most of the game. The third period, we got a little bit on our heels but we ended up getting the W and it’s big,” Landeskog said.

Superstreak Bonus!

I liked how the Avs skated and kept the Wild mostly to the perimeter – although there were a couple of lucky moment in the first 40 minutes, when the Wild missed on a couple of great chances, with Kuemper seemingly beat.

MORE OBSERVATIONS AND TAKEAWAYS

  • MacKinnon fought Duhaime of the Wild after his hit of Bo Byram into the boards from behind, which drew a 5-minute major. MacKinnon said he thinks Duhaime deserves a suspension.
  • MacKinnon: “I mean 2-4 was tough, it would’ve been nice to get back to .500 against Vegas at home, didn’t do that so we had to get a big win in St. Louis and now another great effort against Minny here at home tonight. A lot of fun getting wins on home ice.”
  • Erik Johnson got a goal, and capped it off with a fist pump. He also had a great shift after taking a shot off a foot. “I just tried to hobble around as best I could,” he said.
  • His goal was his first of the season and first since March 6, 2020 at Vancouver, after missing most of last season due to injury. Johnson’s tally was his 61st as a member of the Avalanche, moving within one goal of tying Rob Blake (62) for fourth place in franchise history for goals by a defenseman. His +6 rating this season is tops on the team. Johnson’s goal stood as the game winner, his 12th in an Avalanche sweater to move past Sandis Ozolinsh (11) into sole possession of second place in franchise history in game-winning goals by a defenseman.
  • Avs get three days off now between their next game. I would bet that Mikko Rantanen will be back by then.
  • Andre Burakovsky missed the rest of the third period after “tweaking” something, Jared Bednar said. He thinks he’ll be day-to-day.
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Adrian Dater - Kiss and Larry Bird fan. Writer with @Gambling and @Bookies, Avs Insider with 104.3 The Fan. Denver Post, SI, Bleacher Report alum, author of seven books.

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dudleyconrad

Great win tonight! Really happy with everyone. Kuemper looked really good.

JD16

Good game (if we just selectively forget the second).
So…uh…did MacK forget leave his alternate gloves in his other bag?? Kinda funny.

ricoflashback

Best game by Kuemper by far. And notice what a healthy EJ means for the Avs. I hope they monitor his playing time and provide the rest he’ll need to give him the best chance to stay healthy for the playoffs. No back to back games for EJ and manage his minutes. Ugly, suspendable hit on Byram. Let’s see if the NHL league office does anything.

Ricardo

The league office said no suspension. Very interesting.

ricoflashback

That’s terrible. Worse than Landy’s hit, I thought. A.D. better rethink his statement about the officials not having anything against the Avs. Something or some attitude is going on at the league office when it involves the Avalanche. No consistency in rulings. Show people both hits from behind and 99% would say they are of the same magnitude.

Nick Chapman

SECOND dominant game by Kuemper, who was PHENOMENAL in the opener against Chicago. Has he gotten off to a slow start overall? Definitely. But let’s stop pretending Kuemper wasn’t a dominating force in the opener. Too many people just look at save percentage, but as a former goalie coach with a trained eye in this topic, Kuemper was far better in game 1 than he was last night against Minnesota.

dk

Excellent game, but it needs to be “excellenter”. We were on our heels for nearly the entire 2nd. That hit by Duhaime early in the 3rd was a gift. The momentum for about 25 minutes up to that point was in the Wild’s favor. Thankfully BB was okay.

Ryan Krueger

Adrian, no letter ratings for players this season?

Yan Girard

Good performance for all the players and Kuemper. The goal allowed by Kuemper was a wrong goal however. It’s still a wrong goal when the puck passes throught the body. The Wild is a good team. But on paper, it’s a team very weak. Except Kaprizov, no great forwards. I would have expected at a greater domination of the Avs. The teams played well but it wasn’t a show at the level expected for my part. The game didn’t have rhythm. Yet, it wasn’t a game on the road. Few scoring chances generated. Despite number of shots, easy night for… Read more »

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