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.
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.