The tilt between the Avs and Penguins turned out to be a great one, with the Avs winning 3-2. Ball Arena was rockin’ mostly with Avs fans, but you could spot a few yellow jerseys in the stands. Ok…there were a lot of yellow jerseys. Not too surprising as this was the Penguins’ first game back in Denver since 2020. And, apparently, a lot of people from Pittsburgh prefer to live in Denver.
Add a household name like Sidney Crosby and there is going to be a good turnout.
The Avs have played really smart hockey the last couple of games, taking one penalty against the Penguins and two against the San Jose Sharks. On the most recent round-trip the team took five penalties against Calgary and four against the Minnesota Wild. Talk about an improvement.
“We played 5-on-5 hockey the whole night till the very end,” said Avalanche coach Jared Bednar. “So both teams were real disciplined.”
Another surprising stat throughout the game was, the Avs were consistently outshot by the Penguins. At the start of the third the shots were 32-24. Darcy Kuemper was on top of his game and he needed to be. This was a goalie duel, as Tristan Jarry and Kuemper made some incredible saves for both of their teams. The final shot total ended up being 40-38 Penguins.
“I felt good, just trying to play the same way every night and get to my spots.” Kuemper said, “It was a playoff type atmosphere.”
The Avs continued their regular season dominance while missing key players, including Captain Gabriel Landeskog, Samuel Girard and now Nazem Kadri.
The Avs will play the Penguins again on Tuesday but on their home ice. I would imagine another low scoring, tight and clean game. But then again, we are talking about Crosby and Nathan MacKinnon-led teams.
- There was playoff-like atmosphere at Ball Arena today. The crowd was into it from puck drop.
- Gotta watch the turnovers. The Avs were a little careless in the first with the puck throwing it up the middle of the ice and right to the Penguins.
- Devon Toews’ shift without a stick was a thing of beauty. Is there anything this guy can’t do? What a season.
- Artturi Lehkonen was all over the ice and really making his presence known. Bednar was singing his praises after the game.
- Is Mikko Rantanen the team’s MVP this year? Cale Makar? Kadri? A tough choice, really.
- Nicolas Aube-Kubel really needed that goal. It was his first since February 13th against the Dallas Stars. It was a great shot too, half the crowd didn’t even know it went in.
- J.T. Compher sacrificed his body to block that shot at the end. Beauty. That’s hockey.