My thoughts and observations on the Colorado Avalanche, Game 1 vs the Oilers, and the 8-6 Avs win:
- So, who’s going to start in goal for Game 2 Thursday? I would bet a fair amount it’ll be Pavel Francouz, no matter what. First off, Darcy Kuemper is injured coming out of Game 1 (upper body) and so that may make the decision real easy for Jared Bednar.
- But even If Kuemper checks out OK tomorrow? I would bet Bednar will go with Frankie regardless. We’ll see. Just my hunch for now.
- Even though Frankie let in a couple, he made some really big saves for the Avs. Some of the best were on the Oilers power play, late second period, in a 7-4 game. He made a big stop on Evander Kane right near the end too.
- Before the injury tonight, Kuemper was really struggling it seemed like. You just get the vibe that Bednar is going to stay with Frankie, at least temporarily.
- Bednar said he had no further prognosis on Kuemper, but hinted that he might miss some time.
- I think – again – the Avs relaxed with a big lead at home. This time, unlike Game 5 against the Blues, they got away with it.
- Devon Toews made some uncharacteristically poor decisions with the puck, especially in the third period. But so did a lot of Avs players.
- Andre Burakovsky missed some time earlier in the game after blocking a shot. But he returned.
- J.T. Compher with his second straight multi-goal game.
- “I don’t think that’s playoff hockey,” Cale Makar told TNT after the game.
- Bednar, despite the six goals, thought his team checked hard and did a lot of good things defensively. But, things got too scramble in the third, he said.
- Gabe Landeskog took a bad penalty on Connor McDavid with about eight minutes left in the third, with a 7-5 lead. He’s got to be smarter than that. But he scored the empty-netter this time, at least.
- “We would prefer not to have an 8-6 game,” Nathan MacKinnon said.
- But it’s better to win an 8-6 game than lose one.
- Darcy Kuemper’s save percentage in the playoffs now: .897.
- The Avs are averaging 4.64 goals-per-game in the postseason, the most among all teams.
Andrew Cogliano’s goal stood as the game winner, his team-leading second game-winning goal of the postseason. Cogliano had one game-winning tally in the playoffs prior to this year, against Dallas on April 18, 2014.
- Francouz: “I didn’t feel cold for like five seconds, I was warm pretty quickly, so that wasn’t an issue. I mean, we all know what kind of players are on these two teams. We didn’t plan to play such a game, but we’ll take this win for sure and move forward.”
- I don’t know why, but I just never once felt nervous even after it was 7-6. I just don’t fear this Oilers team that much. Not taking them lightly. But just don’t fear them. With the Blues, there was some fear. I’m not trying to jinx the Avs. Just sayin.’
- This time, with a late third-period lead up only a goal, Bednar had better defensive forwards on the ice than that Game 5 against the Blues.
- The Colorado Avalanche have won the first game in all three playoff series so far.
- I was a bit surprised Bednar scratched Nicolas Aube-Kubel in favor of Alex Newhook. But I thought Newhook played a pretty decent game. He chipped in with an assist.
- Josh Manson (-4, negative puck-possession numbers) had one of those nights.
- Duncan Keith, -2, not much else going on. Not the player he once was.
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