What a difference a week makes for the Colorado Avalanche.
Fresh off losing seven of eight games, the Avalanche have strung together four straight victories. Their latest came on Friday evening against the Vancouver Canucks. The Avalanche, again, got out to a lead and never gave the opposition a chance to come back.
As with every game and in top-rated sports betting sites, you take the good with the bad, so time to take a look at the pluses and the minuses in the game against the Canucks.
+ The Two Man Advantage
Getting a two man advantage on the powerplay is rare. You almost never see two in one game.
The Avalanche capitalized on both of them.
Without Makar, they went with a different set-up, sending five forwards over the boards. It worked both times to perfection. On the first one, the Canucks were laser focused on MacKinnon and had two players above the hash marks. MacKinnon recognized that and passed it down low to a wide open Compher, who then hit Nichushkin.
The second goal is just what happens when you have two more players than the other team. Normally, a defender probably would have been on Rantanen, but they weren’t there, and he had so much time to bury it. Credit to the coaching staff calling a timeout to let the players rest before as well. They knew it was an important time in the game.
The late, great Peter McNab always said if you fail on a two man advantage, it changes the momentum of the game. Scoring on both certainly puts all the momentum in your favor.
+ Mikko Rantanen’s Maturity
Just a week and a half ago, Rantanen was losing it on the referees in back to back games and retaliating with penalties of his own.
Against Vancouver, Luke Schenn took plenty of liberties with him, and Rantanen just kept going. Not only that, but he made the Canucks pay. He had Schenn laying on him for a good ten seconds in the second period, throwing some punches to his back at the same time. Rantanen just kept battling. The Canucks took a penalty, and then another soon after, and Rantanen scored on the powerplay.
Later in the second, he takes a big hit from Schenn (clean), gets back up, holds the defenders off and feeds it to Hunt, who puts the game away.
That’s solid growth from Rantanen, who said last week he’d do a better job of staying cool. He certainly did.
– Andreas Englund
I really liked Englund against Calgary. Tonight just was not his night.
It’s tough being that seventh defenseman who doesn’t get regular shifts, but he got stuck out there with Johnson in the second period after he skated the puck back behind his own net and failed to get a decent clear on it. He had some rough clearing attempts on the penalty kill with time as well that ended up on the Canucks stick.
We will see if Makar is ready to go against Seattle. Englund might be the odd man out.
+ Logan O’Connor (Eventually Will Score)
They keep saying on the broadcast that he’s snakebitten, but he hasn’t really been getting that many chances.
Against Vancouver, he got plenty of chances, and if he keeps going that, the puck will eventually bounce his way.
It started really early, when he battled in front of the net and instead of going in, his shot hit Dermott’s skate and rolled through the crease. The next shift he had a good chance off a mini-break that was stopped. He whiffed on a good look in the third as well.
I didn’t love him (or anyone) on that Pettersson goal at the defensive blueline, but those details usually aren’t an issue with him. They will need him to start chipping in soon, and he needs to be involved offensively to do that.
– Cogliano Penalties
The goal was fantastic. A snipe you never really think a guy like Cogliano has in him anymore.
But what’s up with the penalties? After one against Calgary, he takes three against the Canucks and all seemed pretty legitimate. The Avalanche did a great job of killing everything off tonight, but you kind of want one of your top penalty killers to be on the ice, and not the one in the box.
+ Alexandar Georgiev
Against the Flames, he got a little lucky at times. I didn’t think that was the case on Friday.
He looked calm, cool, and collected all night long. It looked like he made a tremendous skate save shorthanded on J.T. Miller, but the broadcast didn’t give a good replay of it. The only guy to beat him was Pettersson, who when left all alone, probably makes most goalies look silly.
Georgiev’s rebound control looked solid in the second period as well, and that’s one area I think he can improve on as the season goes on.
+ Nathan MacKinnon
Realistically, I could probably put MacKinnon in here pretty much every night.
After a short adjustment period coming back from injury, MacKinnon has been rolling. His hands and wrists got plenty of time to rest up, which is a good thing, because he’s been firing the puck at will the last two weeks. 16 shot attempts against the Canucks, and he had an 18 shot attempt night not too long ago. No one else on the Avalanche had more than six.
I just want to point out that I loved the play on the first two man advantage. Instead of firing a puck at the net, which looked like what they designed in the intermission, he recognized the Canucks defenders high and just fed it to Compher down low. It’s not a fancy play, but it’s the easy one that the defense gave him, and it worked.