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Game Review

Avs Pass Key Pre-Playoff Test with win over Lightning



While coach Jared Bednar, Nazem Kadri and Cale Makar were hanging out in Sin City last week, the rest of the Colorado Avalanche were catching up on some much-needed rest. I wish I could say the same, but two spoiled rotten bulldogs and grumpy chihuahua had other ideas.

The Avs were back in action tonight as they took on the heavy-weight champions, Tampa Bay Lightning. The Avs entered the contest with a 32-8-4 record and the Lightning with a 30-10-6. It doesn’t get much more evenly matched than that. This was also the first game back after the All-Star break for both teams. 

“I think our preparation over the break, once we came back and got a couple of practices it really showed up tonight.” said Darcy Kuemper who stopped 36 shots tonight.

Steven Stamkos leads the Lightning with 20 goals and 52 points while for the Avs, fresh off his first All-Star game, Nazem Kadri leads with 60 points. Kadri casually added another assist tonight, picking up right where left off before the break. Stamkos on the other hand, was left off the score sheet. 

The Avs came out guns blazing, outshooting the Lightning 13-0 in the first 7 minutes and had a commanding 2-0 lead. What All-Star rust? The Lightning woke up in the second period and it turned into the battle of the giants. 

“Loved our first, it was excellent. Shooting the puck, hammering away right away and getting involved,” coach Jared Bednar said after the game. “I thought, second period, we didn’t manage the puck as well.”

The most intriguing part of tonight’s game was that it wasn’t won by one line or even one player. The entire played well and contributed. The defense played heads up and got the puck out of the zone quickly while the offense kept the puck moving and peppered Andrei Vasilevskiy all night with 47 shots. Only Dylan Sikura was held without a shot. It was an all-around solid game for the most part minus a brain cramp that led to the Lightning’s second goal. 

“They’re definitely a measuring stick for the rest of the league with the success they’ve had over the last couple of years,” said Kuemper, “I think as a team, this was a game where everyone had to be at their best.”

The game ended up being much closer than how it started off with the Lightning showing why they are back-to-back Stanley Cup Champions and the Avs showing why they should be next in line.

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