It looked like it was just not going to happen for the Colorado Avalanche on Sunday afternoon.
And yet, they found a way.
Down 3-0, and then 4-2, and then 5-3, they battled back and beat the Edmonton Oilers in overtime. The win came with a certain Swedish Captain in the building.
As with every game, you take the good with the bad, so time to take a look at the pluses and the minuses in the game against the Oilers.
+ No Quit in the Avalanche
It was an ugly game. Jared Bednar said as much. The Avalanche were a mess defensively at times, and gave up some high end chances. They looked tired a good portion of the second period.
But through it all, they kept battling. And it got them a win.
It wasn’t just the skaters, either. Alexandar Georgiev didn’t have his best night, but he still had to make some big saves. None were bigger than his stop on a Yamamoto breakaway when the score was 5-3.
You can’t give up against anyone, and this could be a huge moment for the team moving forward.
+ Landeskog has Landed
I walked into the building behind a couple of young children wearing Landeskog apparel, so I had a feeling something was up. And then the news came down on the ESPN broadcast.
Gabriel Landeskog will hit the ice tomorrow.
After the game, Landeskog walked by in the hallway and looked to moving well. Just having the Captain back in the building is huge for the team. I’ll be at Family Sports tomorrow to see if he’s skating there, but the fact that he’s in town is a first step.
– The Powerplay
It’s a miracle the Avalanche found a way back into the game, because the powerplay was not pretty. Three powerplays in the first period generated very little in terms of high danger chances. Then they managed to get a fourth early in the second period. Not only did they not score on that powerplay, but they gave up a goal to the Oilers immediately after it ended.
The loss of Makar was evident here.
+ Sam Girard
Girard was one of the few guys on his game for the entire afternoon. And in the third and overtime, he took on McDavid and came out on top.
McDavid tried chasing Girard down in the third period, but the defender held him off and carried the puck from behind his own net into the Oilers zone. Then, when the puck came back into the Avalanche zone, he plastered an Oilers forward into the boards.
And when overtime came around, he shadowed McDavid, not allowing him to get a great shot off.
Huge game from Girard, and he now has 15 points in his last 20 games.
– Sloppy Defense
Like I mentioned earlier, this was an ugly game. Particularly defensively.
On the first goal, the Avalanche got caught with four skaters high in the defensive zone, leaving Manson all alone down low. On the second goal, Foegele somehow snuck between everyone to find himself open in the slot. The third goal was Leon Draisaitl, somehow, being left all alone. And the fifth goal was just Janmark being allowed to skate in uncontested.
That doesn’t even count some of the big saves Georgiev had to make on other breakdowns. The offense hasn’t bailed out the team much this year, but it did against the Oilers.
+ Owning the Oilers
Dating back to the playoffs, that’s now six straight victories agains the Oilers. And including last season, it’s eight of nine.
The Avalanche do seem to get up for games like this (I asked J.T. Compher that question after the game). The Oilers may have the best player in the game, but they still can’t find a way to beat the Avalanche.
+ J.T. Compher’s Clutch Factor
A lot has been made in the past about Compher’s ability to come up big in big situations. It happened again on Sunday afternoon.
He assisted on the final three Avalanche goals, including the game winning overtime goal. And on the winning goal, he won the face-off to create possession for the team.
With 38 points in 55 games, he’s already set career highs in a lot of categories. The trade market is thinning out in terms of centers as well.
Could the team even find an upgrade on him at the moment?
– Evan Rodrigues
It’s a struggle for Rodrigues right now. He looks a little slower on the ice, and his time and space is being taken away. In overtime, he didn’t even get a shift.
He finished with a team low 27.59% shot share, and was on the ice for four goals against. It’s now been seven games since he registered a point. The team is still finding ways to win, but they’ll need him to pick it up a bit offensively.
+ Nathan MacKinnon Offensively
There may be no hotter player in the league than MacKinnon.
Defensively, his game wasn’t perfect, but with three more points, he now has 12 points in his last five games.
He’s on fire, and is setting the tone for the team on a nightly basis.