Sorry for being a bit late posting this, as I was not feeling well at all last night. Feeling a bit better now, so let’s do some thoughts and observations from last night’s strong Avalanche win over the Rangers:
- First off, the No. 1 star of the game, IMO, was Logan O’Connor. That toe-drag move in scoring one of his two goals was sublime. Who knew this kid had so much offensive skill? This is not just a fourth-line plugger anymore. This kid is turning into a real player.
- Though the Avs’ defense didn’t score a goal, breaking a 12-game streak, they still added seven assists, and their combined 83 points is most in the league. That has been what has made this team so high-scoring, despite the absences of some really good forwards at times during this 10-2-1 stretch in the last 13 games.
- Every team that spins the wheels of a casino slot to stop the Avalanche offensively is coming up empty right now.
- Darcy Kuemper? Another equipment problem, and a slow start. But, as Jared Bednar said, he got much better as the game went along. I still want to see him really nail a game from start to finish, with a shutout or something. But at least he’s back and the Avs don’t have to rely on goalies with little to no NHL experience moving forward.
- Nathan MacKinnon, it’s clear, has his legs back underneath him. He was at Mach-1 speed last night, and he scored a great goal, his second of the season.
- I don’t want to jinx him, so I’ll phrase it this way: It wouldn’t surprise me if he goes on a real goal-scoring tear now.
- Another goal for Alex Newhook. The kid is playing with so much confidence now. That stint in the minors really did wonders for him. It’s really exciting to think about, his future that is. He’s a scorer, period.
- Nazem Kadri – a goal, two assists and a plus-4. All in 12:54 of action, because he left with a lower-body injury. Now we have to worry about that. Let’s hope it’s just a nagging thing, related to the last one. If I hear anything more today, I’ll pass it on, but the team has the day off.
- I thought Kurtis MacDermid played well in his limited ice time, and like how he went after the Rangers toward the end.
- On the Jacob Trouba hit on MacKinnon: I thought it was a “clean” hit, but one that, yeah, needed a response from the Avs and they certainly gave one, with Landy stepping up and MacDermid looking around for dance partners. The Rangers play here next week, and I’d advise Mr. Trouba to keep his head up.
- The Avs did very well to get through that road trip with a 3-1-1 mark. It started terribly, but finished strong.
- Valeri Nichushkin – extend him now! But seriously, he’s playing great hockey too, and he’s a UFA this summer. The Avs are now staring at Nichushkin, Kadri and Andre Burakovsky as UFAs this summer. Gulp.
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