In the Turning Point, we’ll take a look at one moment in the previous Colorado Avalanche game that changed the momentum in the game, whether in a good way or bad way.
The Avalanche dominated on their way to a 7-0 victory over the Ottawa Senators, but in the first period, fans probably had flashbacks to previous games.
A failed powerplay for the Avalanche stalled all their momentum halfway through the first. Things could have turned real quickly, but a huge penalty kill got all the momentum back for the Avalanche.
That penalty kill was the turning point.
Every good penalty kill usually requires at least one good save. For Pavel Francouz, it came almost immediately.
The puck moved around, and the Avalanche were pressuring really well, not giving the Senators much time to make a play. All the Senators needed was a little opening, as Cogliano lost the man coming down low back door.
No worries, though. Francouz reads the play, comes out, and gets his glove out for a huge confidence boosting save.
It has been a long time since Logan O’Connor scored a goal, and perhaps just as long since he created chaos shorthanded.
He nearly scored a beauty against Ottawa.
Off the face-off, the Avalanche must have recognized that Debrincat was down low, so the Senators had no one at the left point. Compher wins it, and O’Connor heads immediately to the point, catching Makar’s rim around.
He bursts up the ice, makes a pretty nice move against a good defender in Thomas Chabot, and gets a solid chance off on Anton Forsberg. He then battles in the corner to kill off a few more seconds.
The momentum is suddenly turning, and O’Connor got a little bit of his mojo back.
I said after the Chicago game that the Avalanche looked like a team that wasn’t communicating to each other. The chemistry had disappeared.
These 30 seconds were very encouraging.
Two zone entries where the Avalanche read everything perfectly, and communicate with each other for easy clears.
On the first clear, the Avalanche outnumber the Senators. Makar gives the man along the wall no time to make a play. Because he has no time, he chips it forward to an area, but Devon Toews is the first guy there. Right there, Toews and Makar show the chemistry we’ve come accustomed too, with Toews going between his legs to Makar for an easy clear.
15 seconds later, Johnson and Toews combine for another easy clear. Johnson does the same along the blue line with pressuring, forcing a poor pass. Toews is there to pressure Debrincat and outworks him for the puck. He then dumps it back behind his net, where he knows Johnson is going, and the puck is easily cleared.
Two instances where communication and chemistry play a big role in the Avalanche making their own lives easier.
Won’t Get Fooled Again
The Avalanche almost got fooled back door early in the powerplay.
Compher wasn’t going to let it happen again. Here, he shadows 36, knowing that the Senators play is to go to him cutting back door. When the pass goes down low in the corner, Compher is on his man and doesn’t let him get open. The pass can’t be made, and the Senators sputter out the rest of the powerplay, with Compher still shadowing his man.
Maybe the Avalanche turn it around after this win, maybe they don’t, but for these two minutes, they looked like the well oiled machine we saw last season.